500T Catholics joined Eucharistic Congress
ALMOST half a million Catholics participated in the recently concluded 51st International Eucharistic Congress or IEC culminating mass or Statio Orbis held at San Pedro Calungsod Template in Cebu City, organizers said.
Organizers said despite the hot weather, people from all over the world, IEC delegates and non- delegates, attended the Statio Orbis initiated by Papal Legate Charles Maung Cardinal Bo, of Myanmar. With him were cardinals, bishops and priests from 73 countries.
In his homily, Bo said that after 8 days in IEC Congress, he felt sad leaving Cebu because he already learned to love the place, the food, the people and the strong faith of the Cebuanos. He said the locals are great host and “it was a great experience being here. Eucharist is the goal of mission to proclaim Christ, the Hope of Glory, to all nations.”
Bo also encouraged the Filipinos to rejoice for being a “nation of hope” whose light will shine not only in Asia, but to the whole world. He highlighted in his homily the importance of the family and youth in the church, saying families need to be protected and nurtured, and the youth, to be understood.
Pope Francis, in his video message at the IEC Congress, said the celebration was fitting in the Year of Mercy. “It reminds us that the risen Jesus is always alive and present in his Church, above all in the Eucharist, the sacra- ment of his Body and Blood,” he said.
The Pope stressed that the Eucharist is a school of humble service that teaches the readiness of the people to be there for others. This too is at the heart of missionary discipleship, he added.
He summoned the people to go forth as missionaries, to bring the message of the Father’s tenderness, forgiveness and mercy to every man, woman and child. The Pope also encouraged everyone to follow Jesus’ example by reaching out to others, in a spirit of respect and openness, in order to share with them the gift we ourselves have received.
IEC is held every four years and the next IEC will take place in 2020 in Budapest, Hungary.