The 49th International Eucharistic Congress started on June 15 and will last till June 22, 2008 in Quebec City, Canada, and offers a premier opportunity to experience the Church from six
continents gathered in prayer, reflection and action. The Congress will also form the cornerstone of the diverse festivities surrounding the celebration of the 400th anniversary of Quebec City, the cradle of the Church in North America.
The theme of the congress which is "The Eucharist, gift of God for the life of the world", will also contribute to a renewal among people of belief in in the reality of the Mass as the perpetuation of Christ's Sacrifice on the Cross, and in the doctrine of transubstantiation.
At the end of the general audience on the 18th of June, in St. Peter's Square, the Pope addressed some remarks to participants in the International Eucharistic Congress, under way in Quebec through Sunday.
The Holy Father said: "I am spiritually present at this most solemn ecclesial meeting, and I trust it will be a time rich in prayer, reflection and contemplation of the mystery of the Blessed Eucharist, for the Christian communities of Canada and for the Universal Church. May it also be a propitious moment in which to reaffirm the Church's faith in the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament."