There has never been anything like it within living memory, and there will never be anything like it for decades to come. Long after the children who made their first Holy Communion that day have grown to maturity and many of the priests who were ordained that evening will have come to the evening of their days, the memory of the day the Holy Father came to India will be recounted, not without the tears that can only result from a strongly felt experience. –Msgr Benny D’Aguiar, in The Examiner, Bombay
Pope Paul VI became the first pope to visit six continents, and was the most traveled pope in history to that time, earning the nickname “the Pilgrim Pope”. With his travels he opened new avenues for the papacy, which were continued by his successors, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. He traveled to the Holy Land in 1964 and to the Eucharistic Congress in Bombay, India as his second journey.
Everyone had a story of his kindness and thoughtfulness. He knelt to give communion to orphans who were too small to receive otherwise. With one child who had no one in the world he embraced him and wept. He was sensitive to Indian religious traditions and made an eloquent plea for better understanding. And in the spirit of Advent expressed in words first uttered long before Christ: “From the unreal, lead me to the real; from darkness, lead me to light; from death, lead me to immortality.
–Peter Hebblethwaite, Paul VI, pages 408-410.
Papal Artifacts joins in celebrating this anniversary of Pope St. Paul VI’s historic visit to India. We remember him and honor the gift of his life to our Church.
Pope Saint Paul VI, pray for us!
About the YouTube & the Eucharistic Congress
The 38th Eucharistic Congress was held in Mumbai (Bombay) India in 1964. For the first time in its history, the congress took place in a country that did not have a significant Catholic population. In 1964 India had a population of 500 million people of whom 2.4 million were Catholic. (Today, India has 19.9 million Catholics–1.55 % of the 1.22 billion people.)
The objective of the Congress was disseminating the continuing Catholic belief that the “real presence of Christ was in the Eucharist.”
Attending the congress were Pope Paul VI, a large number of cardinals, and an estimated 20,000 foreign visitors.