This year the build-up to the National Eucharistic Congress has meant that a normally quiet few weeks in August will be taken up with planning meetings and visits from the various groups who are staging exhibitions and events over the Adoremus weekend from 7–9 September.
One of the unique contributions from the diocese of Arundel and Brighton will be the installation of a carpet of flowers. Arundel and Brighton have had a tradition of designing and laying a carpet of flowers within their Cathedral at Arundel for a considerable number of years, something which attracts widespread interest. And sure enough, the Bishops Conference accepted A&B's offer to create a similar floral carpet around a Eucharistic theme for the main aisle of our Cathedral during the Adoremus weekend celebrations; in fact, the Blessed Sacrament will be carried over it during the procession at the end of the final Mass.
It will be quite spectacular to witness – yet it also causes a significant challenge, for us to cope without a main aisle for processions and movement around the Cathedral throughout the time of the Congress.
Behind the scenes, there has been a tremendous amount of work both locally and nationally for coordinators and those developing the main Adoremus events, the Parallel Programme and the Youth Conference. Combined, these activities will offer an opportunity for all to be involved and to feel part of the weekend Eucharistic Congress.
One of the organisational complications has been dealing with all the various agencies regarding road closures and management of the final procession, as well as the liturgical requirements for such a procession. Thankfully the national coordinators are taking responsibility for everything external to the Cathedral on the day – so once the procession leaves the Cathedral I will be able to enjoy the final events without worrying if everything is going to plan.
We look forward to being part of a very special and unique occasion in the life of the Church in this country.