Thursday, 17 May 2007

Greetings from (French) Canada

As I write, I'm sitting in the student room which I have been allocated at the University of Laval, Quebec, as I'm here attending a meeting of national and diocesan delegates for the International Eucharistic Congress.

The University itself claims to be 'Catholic', though there is very little evidence of that as you go around. In the centre of the campus, which is an array of overpoweringly sixties edifices, is something which looks like a rather grand Church. Ah, I thought. So it is Catholic. So I went to have a mooch, and found that even if it had been a Church at one time, it was now a library and archive. I did eventually find the chapel. It was locked on first visit, and not easy to find as I easily walked past it. I must say that the chaplaincy at the secular University of Birmingham is much more prominent than this.

Anyway. The meeting. So far it hasn't been terribly inspiring. The idea is that it is a meeting for us to see where the International Eucharistic Congress will take place (in June 2008), and to become so enthused that we will bring hoards of delegates. There are not that many of the national delegates here. Of the European delegates, apart from me, there is one from Spain, one from Switzerland, one from Poland, and a substitute from France. A handful from South America, Asia and Africa are here too. The majority of the delegates are from Canada and the USA. Last night we were treated to a performance of the new Congress hymn. I can't say it's very catchy. And it took forever for them to get round to singing it, after having speeches (everything translated into English and Spanish from the original French too) for what seemed like hours. I hope today takes a new turn in terms of interest. I'm looking forward to the tour of Old Quebec later, and the Eucharistic Congress for young people which I'll be at over the weekend. I'll let you know how it's going!

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