Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Seventh National Eucharistic Congress: Genova 1923

Pope Pius XI had the year before (1922) presided at the International Eucharistic Congress in Rome. The theme of that Congress held between 24th and 29th May 1922 was "The Peaceful Reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist"

In December 1922, he had published his Encyclical Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio (On the Peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ) 23rd December 1922

The Eucharist and Communion was again one of the major themes of his speech in the Secret Consistory of 23rd May 1923

He again stressed the importance of the Eucharist. He described as the apogee, the centre and the reason for being of the Church.

In September 1923, the Italian National Eucharistic Congress was held in Genoa (Genova). The Congress was hosted by the newly appointed Archbishop: Giosuè Signori, who died a few months later on 25 November 1923

The Pope`s Legate was Gaetano Cardinal de Lai (born 26th July 1853, died 24th October 1928, Rome), part of the Roman Curia.

He was made cardinal in 1907 by Pope Pius X.

He took part in the 1914 conclave which elected Pope Benedict XV, and the 1922 conclave which chose Pope Pius XI.

On the last day of the Eucharistic Congress the Host was transported through the streets of the city and then on board the barge Bucentaur.

Soldiers and sailors stood to arms, the Mayor and civil authorities were in attendance and as the barge moved slowly through the long avenue of ships, hydroplanes escorted it, strewing flowers from the air.

To mark the close of the Congress, Pope Pius XI broadcast a message for world peace from the Vatican as thousands kneeled.

In 1912, Genova had been the centre of controversy. The State had refused to confirm Pope Pius X`s appointment of Archbishop Caron as Archbishop of the city. As a result, he had put the city under a Quarter Interdict. The matter was only resolved early in the reign of Pope Benedict XV who was, of course, of Genova.

As can be seen from the photographs below, the incident had been well and truly forgotten.

Cardinal De Lai, the Pope`s Legate in Genova

Cardinal Giorgi

Cardinal De Lai

The Eucharist Procession at Sea

Outside the Duomo