|A recent large-scale religious event in Quebec City has raised hopes of revival not only in the spiritual realm, but in that of the state of human life and the family as well.
The 49th International Eucharistic Congress attracted tens of thousands of people to a city also celebrating its 400th anniversary and that, until recent decades, was steeped in the Roman Catholicism that was present from its very founding.
Unfortunately, in the wake of the so-called Quiet Revolution, the city and province descended from being a crown jewel of religious faith to a centre of secularism not only in Canada, but in the world. Church attendance dropped off drastically, abortionist Henry Morgentaler began his franchises there and Quebec led the way in embracing many of the current era’s moral pathologies, including homosexuality, rampant abortion and unabashed hedonism.
The congress, however, raised the spectre that the spiritual and moral climate may have reached its nadir and is, in fact, on the rebound. Participants were effusive in their praise for the event and remarked plentifully on the spiritual impact it had on them and others.
“I feel as if I was raised from the dead,” said Cardinal Marc Ouellet, archbishop of Quebec City and primate of Canada. “I believe that we have reached a turning point in the history of the Catholic church in Quebec.”
“The congress was for me, our Salt and Light crew and, I know, for millions of people who viewed ur coverage … a great spiritual retreat, resurrection and renewal of faith,” said Father Tom Rosica, CEO of the Salt and Light Media Foundation and Television Network.
“This year … there is a renewed religious spirit here,” remarked Father Raymond de Souza, a frequent contributor to numerous publications, including the National Post. “For those who were here … it seemed that a corner was turned.”
John-Henry Westen and Maria Dalgarno were present at the congress on behalf of the LifeSiteNews.com news service. They echoed the sentiments voiced by Ouellet, Rosica and de Souza.
Westen said a procession of tens of thousands through the streets of Quebec City and the ordination of 12 new priests made the most impact on him.
“It was a phenomenal cultural experience, even for those who were not Roman Catholics themselves,” he said. “It’s hard to describe how wonderful it was … It really was quite a powerful experience.”
Westen added the congress brought forth a sense of hope, especially for the pro-life movement.
“I think with this eucharistic congress, we’re seeing something of a turnaround … on the spiritual level.”
Dalgarno said she kept experiencing “powerful things” all through the week.
“I spoke to a priest from Toronto and he was telling me that, for him, the week had definitely been mind-boggling and definitely a change in his own life as a priest … I was amazed to see the effort people made to get here. It was just so powerful – people who would hardly walk or were on oxygen. Many young families also showed up.”
Dalgarno added one of the days of the congress was devoted to the theme of the family, “the fact we need to work with and protect our families, stand up for life and not be afraid to stand up for life.”