In response to Pope John Paul II's invitation to celebrate the Year of the Eucharist, the Archdiocese of Birmingham and the Dioceses of Nottingham and Northampton are together holding a Eucharistic Congress 2005 on the theme: Behold The Lamb. The four-day Congress will be held at Newman College situated in Bartley Green, Birmingham, from Thursday 14 to Sunday 17 July. The Congress is open to people throughout England and Wales and more than a 1,000 delegates are expected to attend each day. There will be a full programme of Mass, exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, talks, testimonies, and study sessions each day. Archbishop Vincent Nichols will celebrate the opening Mass and welcome delegates to the Archdiocese of Birmingham on Thursday evening, 14 July. In addition to delegates, Friday, 15 July, will be a day especially for priests. Saturday, 16 July, will be for Eucharistic Ministers and Catechists. The music will be lead by various groups including CJM Music, the dynamic group from Birmingham. A number of well-known speakers have already agreed to come to the Congress. These include: Fr Raniero Cantalamessa, the Papal Preacher from Rome, Fr John Edwards the Jesuit writer, and Bishop Malcolm McMahon OP of Nottingham. More names will be announced during the next few weeks. The Congress Director is Father Julian Green, parish priest of SS. Peter and Paul, Pype Hayes, in Birmingham. There will be events run in parallel in the three sponsoring dioceses. On Thursday and Friday there will be special sessions of prayer for schools in Birmingham at St Chad's Cathedral. The organisers hope to encourage participation of young people through the involvement of Youth 2000, Diocesan Youth Services, the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, the New Forest Dominican sisters, the Community of Grace and the Sion community. One of the organisers, Canon Tom Farrell, Episcopal Vicar for Oxfordshire, said: "This Eucharistic Congress is a response to the Holy Father's invitation to celebrate the Year of the Eucharist and to renew people's faith in the power of the Blessed Sacrament." Canon Farrell added: "We hope that many young adults will attend the congress and give a powerful witness of faith in the Eucharist that will help to revive Eucharistic devotion as central to the life of the Church." Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham, said: "This Eucharistic Congress will be a highlight of the summer. Together we shall celebrate the great gift of God's love. We shall give thanks to God and rejoice together. It will be a Congress to remember and a great experience for all who take part." Further information about the Eucharist Congress, including booking details, will be announced early in February.
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