MANILA, Jan. 16, 2015 – Let’s face it: Not everyone can afford a flight to Cebu, let alone a weeklong hotel accommodation and registration for the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC).
But many Filipinos who are serious about the faith are determined not to allow these to stand in the way of expressing support for and taking part in this once-in-a-lifetime gathering even in the silence of their neighborhood adoration chapels.
Visits to the Blessed Sacrament
“I intend to celebrate IEC this month by raising awareness about it online like posting information [about] the Eucharistic teachings of Christ in social media. I will diligently participate in the Holy Mass and frequent the Blessed Sacrament to pray for the safety and success of this event even if I myself can’t be there in Cebu in person,” said Zigfred Olegario in an interview.
Asked what makes him excited about IEC, the call center agent from Trece Martires City, Cavite, pointed out its theme, “Christ as Our Hope of Glory,” reminds all the faithful, delegates and non-delegates alike, that God loves mankind so much that He condescended not only to become one of them, but also to become bread and wine in order to save them from their sins.
Promoting the Eucharist
Olegario believes the event will help him enrich and deepen his faith in and love for the Eucharist through the many resources he hopes it will make available for the average Catholic in social media, print, and even by word of mouth.
Likewise, employee Joseph Vincent Atanacio of Antipolo City, promised to offer Masses for souls and sinners and spend more time in the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, praying for the success of the IEC as well as for abundant graces from God.
He also vowed to show deeper reverence for the Body and Blood of Christ by genuflecting during communion and by receiving Him on the tongue.
For his part, Gabriel Plegaria added he will pray for priests and the religious and seek forgiveness for what he bemoans are sacrileges and abuses committed and continue to be committed against the Eucharist.
The teacher from Binangonan Catholic College in Rizal went on to share that his school recently held a Catechetical Day in line with the Year of Mercy and Year of the Eucharist the and Family where students were taught the proper decorum during Mass.
“In a short skit, my fourth-grade pupils had to act out the right conduct to be observed during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. I also explained to them the things that should and should not happen when Mass is ongoing,” he said.
IEC @ 51
Now on its 51st installment, the Eucharistic Congress is scheduled from Jan. 23 to 31 in Cebu City, and is expected to draw thousands of participants from all over the world. According to the official IEC website, Manila hosted the 33rd IEC in 1937, a few years before World War II when the Philippines was still an American protectorate and Pius XI was pontiff. (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)