1932 Dublin International Eucharistic Congress - official badges
The 31st International Eucharistic Congress took place in Dublin from the 22nd to the 26th of June 1932 and was the first major international event to take place in Ireland since the foundation of the Irish Free State in 1921. The Congress was seen as hugely significant in asserting the State’s identity as a leading Catholic nation, as the people of Ireland rallied behind the Catholic Church and their government to ensure its success. The first Eucharistic Congress was held in 1881 (Pope Leo XIII) and Ireland once again, hosted the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in 2012.
The central theme of the 1932 Eucharistic Congress was the celebration of the 1,500th anniversary of the coming of St. Patrick to Ireland. The format and organisation of the 1932 Congress was similar to that held in 1929 for the 100th anniversary of the Catholic Emancipation Act. The 1932 Congress Organising Committee was also similar in composition to that of 1929 and was again, led by the very capable Frank O’Reilly who was noted for his organisational skills. Whereas the 1929 celebrations were a national event, those of 1932 were of international significance and organised on a larger and more elaborate scale.
Cardinal Lorenzo Lauri, representative of Pope Pius XI arrived in Dublin on the 20th of June and formally opened the Congress on the 22nd with a mass in the Pro-Cathedral. In the lead-up prior to that, separate events for men, women and children had already been taking place since June 5th. The Congress closed with a Pontifical High Mass on the Fifteen-Acres in the Phoenix Park, Dublin and was attended by about a million people. Cardinal Lauri remained in Ireland for a week after the Congress ‘officially’ ended and toured the country, visiting some of the main towns and cities before departing for Rome on the 3rd July.
Illustrated above are two official badges and anyone attending Congress cermonies were expected to wear the badge or its equivalent medal. Unofficial badges were also sold and these tend to be scarcer. An official enamel badge cost one shilling (1/-) and were on sale at parish churches, schools or from the Organising Committee’s office at 8 Lower Abbey Street, Dublin.
Both badges were manufactured in die-stamped brass with gilt coating and blue enamel. The badge displays the official 1932 Congress crest whose design was adapted from the Cross of Cong. The text reads INTERNAT DUBLINENSIS CONGRESSUS EUCHARISTIC.
The larger badge is 35mm diameter with pin clasp and made by the Jewellery Company of Dublin. The smaller one also has a pin clasp, 32mm diameter and made by Quinn of Dublin. The Quinn version of this badge seems to be the more common of the two.
These badges with the pin clasp are relatively easy to come by but those with a buttonhole stud (horseshoe shaped clasp) are scarce. To-date, I’ve only come across one but was unusual in that it had no enamel, only a gilt coating. Official children’s badges were also issued at a cost of 4d (4 pence) each and were of similar design and size but were tin plated and without enamel.
multitext.ucc.ie/d/The_31st_International_Eucharistic_Con... (Excellent website with good information about the 1932 Congress and pics).
multitext.ucc.ie/d/Official_Crest_of_the_31st_Internation... (The 1932 Eucharistic Congress crest design).
The Handbook of the Eucharistic Congress published by the Organising Committee, 1932.
Some examples of unofficial Eucharistic Congress badges issued for the 1932 event: