Eucharistic Congress, Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend

posted by Mike on August 18th, 2007

Today Margie Pfeil and I went to the diocesan Eucharistic Congress held at Notre Dame. The day started with a very nice ecumenical prayer service at the basilica.

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Then I went to a talk by Lawrence Cunningham, “What the Mystics Teach Us About Prayer.” This was more about the history of the idea of “mystic” than about the practice of prayer, and looking at the audience I think he picked the right focus; 90% of these folks seemed familiar with the ins and outs of contemplation.

Lawrence Cunningham on mysticism

In the afternoon, I went to confession. Confessional sites were scattered across the lawns of Notre Dame, each with two folding chairs, an umbrella, and a priest.

While waiting in line, I watched dozens of people confess their sins, and was struck by how long most of the confessions lasted. For me, a good confession is like a jewel heist: Get in, get out. I bet the average confession took 5 times longer than mine. Am I missing something? Is there something that I should be saying, and that the priest is too shy to ask me to say?

I’ve lived in South Bend for months, but don’t know much about the area, so I also attended a talk about the history of the diocese. Unexpected fact: Our Sunday Visitor, started in Fort Wayne by Father (later Archbishop) John Noll, made Noll a wealthy man, and his wealth was key in saving parishes, starting schools, and funding projects throughout the area.

The final event was a mass at the Joyce Center, Notre Dame’s basketball area. I’ve been in megachurches, but never during a service; this mass is the closest thing I’ve experienced so far.

Mass

Congress attendees received a plenary indulgence. There should have been, but was not, a session titled In Defense of Indulgences.

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