Nearly 5,000 Catholics from across Florida and Georgia packed the Prime Osborn Convention Center on Saturday for the second annual Eucharistic Congress, sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine.
The event focused on the Eucharist, the sacrifice of Jesus' life and remembrance through holy communion.
The keynote speaker for this year's event was Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for U.S. Military services, who spoke about budget cuts facing the military.
"We see it first hand with some ships not being able to go on deployment, not getting enough money to be able to do some of the work that we actually need it can be really difficult," said Christina Gatti of the Navy.
Gatti said despite the challenge she and other military members are just trying to do the best they can. She said it was an encouragement to see Broglio give the events keynote address.
It's nice to see him representing the military and representing the caloric faith especially in Jacksonville, because obviously there's so many military members in Jacksonville," said Gatti.
Broglio heads the Archdiocese for Military Services USA, which tends to military personnel veterans and federal employees across the country and the world.
While military budget cuts weren't the main topic of this congress, the keynote speaker, Broglio, still gave his thoughts on the issue.
Broglio said they've been watching the budget situation very closely and trying to supply help and encouragement where they can.
"I think the message that we give is always one of hope," said Broglio. "We are a country that has learned to deal with crisis we've learned to respond to those crisis, so I think we try to work together."
Getting through the cuts will take collaboration, Broglio says, and accepting the reality of having to do more with less. He admits it won't always be easy.
"I think one of the challenges definitely is learning to sacrifice," said Broglio. "It's also learning to look at what is really important, establishing priorities, I think, those are things that we have to do as a nation."
Those are words Broglio hopes will encourage the northeast Florida military community.