IEC Agape: The joy of common celebration

04 September 2021
The day before the ceremonial opening of the 52nd IEC, dioceses hosted some five thousand needy across the country. The aim was to delight people by the joy of the common celebration despite all their difficulties.

Cardinal, Primate Péter Erdő, in the presence of István Nagy, Minister of Agriculture, István Szabó, State Secretary at the Defence Ministry, and with the prayer of Tibor Berta, Bishop of the Military Ordinariate, opened the Love feast of Budapest, held in the John Paul II square. Invited guests were eating together with ecclesiastical and public dignitaries. Beef goulash, and as dessert, the cake of the International Eucharistic Congress – baked upon the recipe of master confectioner Zsolt Karl – were served. Ingredients for both the goulash and the dessert were offered and provided by István Nagy, Minister of Agriculture. Pastry was prepared with the assistance of the confectioner instructors of the Pesti Barnabás Agricultural Training School.

Love feast is a form of testimony, clearly demonstrating the love of Jesus, who gave himself in the form of bread. The event was organised by monastic orders, charities and spiritual movements with the aim to let the marginalized people encounter by God’s love and partake in the joy and visible love of a common celebration.

Budapest and the majority of the dioceses invited families in need, elderlies and singles for the common meal.

Sister Ágnes Hajós unveiled some background information in an IEC podcast. Dioceses, their support organisations, monastic orders across the country joined the initiative to organise the love feasts that were held simultaneously on various locations countrywide, and were attended by guests with whom the aid organisations have been in contact throughout the year. Various societies were also involved in welcoming the several thousands of people, including the IEC Charity Committee, the Hungarian Defence Forces, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Caritas Hungary. In order to make the event far more memorable the scouts arranged children’s programs. “The fundamental concept to organise such a feast was to behave alike to Jesus, when he shared himself with us and called us to act the very same way. This was a great opportunity to host people who would not otherwise be able to participate in the Congress. Such an event is not a pure food distribution, but rather a feast. We would like them to sit at the table and let us serve them. These people seldom, or never have the possibility to enjoy such a service. In acting alike, we want to achieve, to express and to make them enjoy this day as a festival.” – explained Sister Ágnes Hajós.


Amongst the countryside programs, the Love feast event began in the Saint-Family church. The assembled people started with a short prayer and common singing, then they all together walked to the nearby Don Bosco Sport Centre, where a cultural program began. The event was enriched by Father Ferenc Tran Si Nghi’s Vietnamese folk song, a piano play and a short story, to make this special morning even more memorable. The Eger Archdiocese, the Caritas Hungary and the Salesian order hosted 105 people – said Ferenc Árvai, Director of Caritas Hungary.


In front of the Cathedral in the city of Szombathely some seven hundred people came together for the Love feast. They were greeted by Father János Székely, bishop, while the lunch was prepared under the guidance of Marcsi Borbás. The program was rounded off by the Ébren álmodók (Awake dreamers) musical group’s devotion – told us Marietta Régvári Tuczainé, Caritas director.

Click here to see the photo gallery of the Budapest Love feast.

Photo: Marcsi Ambrus