DUBLIN –– Organizers are encouraging parishes and communities across Ireland to use the feast of St. Patrick –– March 17 –– to intensify preparation for the International Eucharistic Congress.

Their initiative, Ring for Renewal, “invites people to pause for a moment in their day to ring a bell on St. Patrick’s Day and reflect on how they can be renewed as individuals and members of the church as they prepare for the congress,” said Father Kevin Doran, congress secretary-general.

Cathedrals and churches across Ireland are being asked to ring their bells for two minutes at 12 noon and 6 p.m., after the traditional Angelus chimes, as a symbol of renewal and a call to gather in preparation.

“By ringing a bell on St. Patrick’s Day, everyone can join the journey toward the congress in their own personal way,” Father Doran said.

More than 1 million people have rung the eucharistic congress bell, which is being transported around the country as the countdown intensifies. Organizers have also made the chiming of the congress bell available to download as a mobile phone ringtone on www.iec2012.ie/ringforrenewal.

With fewer than 100 days to go until Dublin hosts the congress, organizers are upbeat that the occasion will offer a chance for Irish Catholics and pilgrims to renew their faith.

The June 10-17 congress is expected to attract about 25,000 pilgrims every day, including some 12,000 pilgrims from overseas.

Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin insists that the congress “is being seen as a unique opportunity for renewal of the Christian life.”

“To the surprise of its critics, the eucharistic congress is taking shape as a genuine moment of renewal in the church,” he said.

The theme of the congress is “The Eucharist: Communion With Christ and With One Another.”

On June 17, more than 80,000 people are expected to gather for the congress’ final Mass at Croke Park Stadium.