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Eucharistic hero’s relic on display

St. Peter Julian Eymard was beatified in 1925, and canonized in 1962, a day after the Second Vatican Council’s first session. (Photo: Raymond A. Sebastián)

MANILA, July 30, 2015—Five months before the International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu next year, the Nuestra Señora del Pilar (Our Lady of the Pillar) Parish in Manila’s Santa Cruz district has an ongoing mini exhibit that features a relic of St. Peter Julian Eymard as well as photographs of the French priest whose devotion to the Blessed Sacrament changed history.

Blessed Sacrament devotion

In an earlier interview, Fr. Ferdinand S. Tomo, vocation director of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament (SSS) in the Philippines, told CBCP News that besides commemorating the life and legacy of St. Peter Julian Eymard, the exhibit also aims to inspire Blessed Sacrament vocation among the lay faithful.

Dubbed the “Apostle of the Eucharist,” the future saint was born Pierre Julien Eymard (Pierre Julien is French for Peter Julian) on February 4, 1811 in Le Mure d’Isère, on the French Alps.

SSS

Peter Julian’s “journey of faith” drew him from being a priest in the Diocese of Grenoble in 1834, to joining the Marists (Oblates of Mary Immaculate) in 1839, and finally to founding his own Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament in 1856.

Like his contemporary St. John Baptist Vianney, he had to cope with poverty, his father’s initial opposition to his vocation, serious illness, and the overemphasis on sin and the difficulties of getting diocesan, and later papal approval, for his new religious community.

Christ-centered love

His years as Marist, including service as provincial leader, saw his devotion to the Eucharist deepening, especially by his preaching of the Forty Hours devotion in many parishes.

Inspired by the idea of reparation for indifference to the Eucharist, Peter Julian became attracted to a more positive spirituality of Christ-centered love.

Active-contemplative

Members of the men’s community he had founded have no problem contemplating Jesus in the Eucharist even as they pursue active apostolic lives.

With the help of Marguerite Guillot, the priest established the Congregation of the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament for women.

Peter Julian Eymard was beatified in 1925, and canonized in 1962, a day after the Second Vatican Council’s first session.

Since 1957

According to Tomo, the first Blessed Sacrament Fathers came to the Philippines in 1957 from the Province of St. Anne in the United States.

The local SSS community has since grown to become its own Province of Our Lady of the Assumption with members in Australia, Italy, France, Hawaii, Ireland, and Uganda. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)

‘Jesus of the Poor’ gets rockstar welcome in Bohol

The icon “Jesus of the Poor” in Bohol (Photo: Fray Jaazeal Jakosalem, OAR)

TAGBILARAN City, Bohol, July 30, 2015—Boholano Catholics went all out in welcoming “Jesus of the Poor,” a Filipinized icon made specially for the Years of Consecrated Life and of the Poor, and blessed no less than by Pope Francis himself during his Philippine trip in January.

Pray for religious vocations

“Pray for our consecrated men and women in the island of Bohol. The Boholano vocations in religious life from the island are our gifts to the Church,” said Fr. Florante Camacho, SVD, the Vicar for Religious of the Diocese of Tagbilaran, in a recent statement.

For their part, consecrated men and women from all over Bohol organized the welcoming event held on the street leading to the city’s St. Joseph Cathedral, and was attended by hundreds of the local Visayan faithful.

‘Iconic tour’

Among the crowd were young Boholanos who had taken part in a vigil the night before, and were inspired by the challenges the Holy Father raises in his encyclical “Laudato si’.”

In an effort to make it better known, the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) had tasked Fray Jaazeal Jakosalem, the “writer” of the icon, along with Fray Raymund Alcedo, both religious brothers from the Order of the Augustinian Recollects, (OAR) to accompany Jesus of the Poor in its visits to the various religious communities and dioceses of the country.

Christ wears ‘kamiseta’

Likewise, in line with the ongoing celebration of the Years of Consecrated Life and of the Poor, the religious brother told CBCP News that AMRSP is coming out with other activities related to its advocacies.

Quite unlike most icons, Jesus of the Poor features Christ wearing a “kamiseta,” the everyday shirt the average Filipino man wears.

The icon is expected to remain in the Visayan island-province until Friday, July 31, 2015, before it moves to the Dioceses of San Carlos, Bacolod, Dumaguete, and Kabankalan, respectively. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)