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Budapest Eucharistic Congress, with possible papal trip, postponed until 2021

The Vatican has confirmed the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest, scheduled for September 13-20, 2020, will be postponed until 2021.

The decision was made by Pope Francis, the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses and the Hungarian bishops' conference, due to the current health situation.

The Ambassador of Hungary to the Holy See, Eduard Habsburg says he understands the decision. 

Ambassador of Hungary to the Holy See
“Of course this is a very reasonable decision by the Holy Father and the Holy See. We are living in a very special time, as I don't have to tell you. An event with currently 60,000 inscriptions will simply not be possible in early autumn this year.”

The president of Hungary, János Áder, invited Pope Francis in February, when he visited the Vatican to celebrate 100 years of diplomatic relations with the Holy See.  

The pope's attendance throughout the week-long event was not official, but many were expecting him to at least conclude the Congress on the last day. 

Ambassador of Hungary to the Holy See
“We have a saying in Hungary: 'First I give you three presents and then I give you a fourth one.' Every single parish in Hungary has been praying for three years for this Eucharistic Congress and we have the feeling the pope gave us the present of a fourth year of preparation. So we can go even more in-depth in our preparation. We feel encouraged.”

The event, he said, will also reflect on the lockdown, when the Eucharist is not so easily accessible as before. 

Ambassador of Hungary to the Holy See
“I also think we will include in the preparation our experiences from the coronavirus time. I don't know how you feel about it, but for me, it was a time when I understood even deeper the importance and my own desire for the Eucharist. So we can incorporate that into the congress next year.”

Various sites throughout the city were marked for different parts of the event, which has taken place regularly since 1881. It is the second time Budapest will host the Congress, after originally holding it in 1938. Now, they only have one more year until it's their turn again. 

Melissa Butz