National News

Bishops Encouraged to Support African National Eucharistic Congress

Seattle Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio L. Elizondo is seen in this 2018 file photo. In a Nov. 16, 2022, presentation at the U.S. bishops’ fall general assembly, Bishop Elizondo encouraged the prelates to support the African National Eucharistic Congress slated for July 21-23, 2023, in Washington. (Photo: Catholic News Service)

By Mark Pattison

BALTIMORE (CNS) — The U.S bishops were encouraged to send participants to the African National Eucharistic Congress, slated for July 21-23 in Washington, and to come themselves.

Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio L. Elizondo of Seattle, in a Nov. 16 address to the bishops, told them the congress, known as ANEC, would be “more engaging” beyond the workshops that are part and parcel of the multiday gathering. He said there would be Masses, a eucharistic procession, a rosary procession and cultural celebrations on the congress schedule.

“The ANEC is the right ground for the new evangelization, an opportunity for all of us to engage — dioceses, parishes, religious congregations, associations and others — to address the pastoral needs of African Catholics in the United States,” he said.

“Your presence will be a tremendous inspiration for those who will attend, and make the ANEC a success.”

Next year’s African National Eucharistic Congress will be the fourth such gathering. It will be held on the grounds of The Catholic University of America in Washington. The congress is held every five years.

It is not just for African Catholics, Bishop Elizondo said, but for “those who minister among them or are interested in engaging and accompanying this vibrant growing segment of the Catholic Church in the United States.”

The congress will feature sessions on immigration, stewardship, evangelization and enabling “the proclamation of the Gospel in the peripheries,” the bishop said.

“I invite you to an encounter with African Catholics in the diaspora,” he continued, because this will “trigger attitudes of deep oneness with Christ, the church and their shepherd.”

“I also believe that it’s a wonderful opportunity to encounter young people and their needs and bringing vocations, as holiness in marriage, a consecrated life, and of course, the priesthood,” he added.

Also on the schedule is time for an episcopal encounter with young adults. “It will be a wonderful experience for many of us,” he said.

Bishop Elizondo said Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens of Crookston, Minnesota, who is currently heading the U.S. bishops’ National Eucharistic Revival, would lead a session called “United in the Eucharist,” and Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory of Washington, would celebrate Mass during the congress at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which is adjacent to Catholic University.