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The Ark of the New Covenant Visits Sudbury Catholic Schools

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(L-R); Marymount Academy students, Shannon MacDonald, Haley D’Angelo and Kelsey Carbonneau from Mrs. Rose’s Grade 7 class place special prayers of their own creation in the Ark of the New Covenant during a Liturgy of the Word Celebration held at the school.

February 7, 2008 - Every four years, Catholic faithful from around the world are invited to gather together to reflect and celebrate the great mystery of the Eucharist during the International Eucharistic Congress. From June 15 to 22, 2008 it is expected that between 12,000 and 15,000 bishops, priests, deacons, religious and lay people will gather in Quebec City to come to a deeper appreciation of “the Eucharist, gift of God for the life of the world,” the theme of this 49th Congress. The year 2008 also has special significance for the church of Quebec. It marks the 400th anniversary of the first permanent French establishment in North America and the beginning of the spread of Catholic faith into what would become the once vast New France. Congress officials express a confident hope that the Holy Father will preside at the closing mass on the plains of Abraham.

In order to help the youth of the City of Greater Sudbury prepare for this event, The Ark of the New Covenant is returning to the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie. It will be on display in each of the Sudbury Catholic District School Board’s four secondary schools from Wednesday, February 6 to Friday, February 8, 2008. During this time a Liturgy of the Word will be celebrated with the students
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The Ark will be on display at Bishop Alexander Carter Catholic Secondary School on Wednesday, February 6, at Marymount Academy on Thursday, February 7, at St Benedict Catholic Secondary School on Friday, February 8 in the morning and at St Charles College during the afternoon.

What is the Ark?
The Ark: A Chest: The Ark of the New Covenant is a seat, as well as a container. It is a “seat” for the King, that is, Christ, present under the form of the Eucharistic species exposed in a monstrance. It is also a chest containing the Scriptures, the Bible, which, proclaimed in the liturgy, becomes the presence of Christ who through his word teaches the people, his Church. The ship’s hold at the base of the Ark is a place where people can place testimony of their commitment as Christians to mark the passage of the Ark as it travels from one community to the next.

A Symbolic Boat: The base of the Ark is in the form of a boat, bringing to mind Noah’s Ark (cf. Genesis 6:18-22). However, it refers more to the boat of Peter. Ever since the institution of the New Covenant, the boat has been a symbol of the Church, the people of God who are journeying together.

The New and Eternal Covenant: Its name “Ark of the New Covenant,” of Biblical origin, it refers to the spiritual experience of the people of Israel and the pact they concluded with God in the time of Moses in Sinai. Since that time, Jesus signed the New Covenant with the people of the Old Covenant. The expression “New Covenant” refers in fact to the new and eternal Covenant, which came from Jesus Christ, marked by the Pascal Mystery of his death and resurrection and celebrated in the Eucharist.

The originality of the Ark is a first in the history of International Eucharistic Congresses. The hope is that it will foster creativity in the places where it travels and will serve to bring all generations together - that it may be the impetus for an ideal opportunity to unite many people in Christian reflection to help them discover, deepen and celebrate the Eucharistic Mystery to render it in every way a gift of God for the life of the world.

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