The 51st International Eucharistic Congress here in Cebu City is now on its second to the last day.
Pilgrims from all-over the world are still filled with fervor and energy to hear the catechism on the Holy Eucharist.
Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, DD, of the Archdiocese of Jaro, opened the day presiding the Morning Praise. Pilgrims in the pavilion sang with the members of the Congregation of the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master. In his brief homily, Arch. Lagdameo exhorted the pilgrims to become a Eucharistic community, weaving the tapestry of love.
The Archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York, His Excellency Timothy Cardinal Dolan, DD, energetically shared his reflection on the topic “The Eucharist and Mary.” Card. Dolan presented the Eucharist as a sacrifice, meal, and presence from another perspective, this time in the light of Mary’s life. “If you want to be closer to Jesus at the cross, be close to Mary for she was there at the foot of the cross” Card. Timothy said. As a meal, the Eucharist is a family meal where Mary, our mother, is present. Mary also plays a role on Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. The incarnation happens every time the Mass is celebrated.
After a well applauded catechesis by Card. Timothy Dolan, Mr. Jay-arr Felisilda Librando, composer of the official theme song of the 51st IEC, sang his own composition.
Sharing her voice of hope from Thailand, Ms. Sarindhorn Mativachranon testified on her life-experience. For decades, she was hiding as a fugitive as she was falsely accused of a crime that she did not commit. After some time, she realized that if she wanted to continue living, she would have to learn how to forgive. At present, she is now an evangelizer to the business circle, the judiciary, and even to politicians and the military. The whole pavilion gave Ms. Sarindhorn a standing ovation after her faith-testimony.
A series of Deaf Tracks were also presented. Fr. Cyril Axelrod and Fr. Ralph Schimitz shared with our deaf brothers and sisters a conference on the “Eye People: Including Deaf Persons with Disabilities.” Stephanie Authier and Fr. Matthew Hysell delivered their topic on “Deaf Catholics; Leaders and Teachers.” Frs. Charlie Dittmeier and Min Seo Park discussed the topic on “Deaf Ministry—South East Asia.”
In the afternoon, thousands of children received the Body of Christ for the first time. His Eminence Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, DD, Archbishop-Emeritus of Cebu, who was also a first communicant during the 33rd International Eucharistic Congress in Manila in 1937, presided the Children’s Mass at Cebu City Sports Center.
To wrap up the day’s events, organizers treated both local and foreign delegates to a Sinulog Festival. Winners from this year’s Sinulog sa Kabataan staged their ritual dance in honor of Señor Sto. Niño.
It has been a grace-filled day for all the participants of this Eucharistic congress. For CBCP Media and Recoletos Communications, this is Fray Robin Ross Plata, OAR, reporting.