NAGA City, March 15, 2015 — In preparation for the upcoming International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) slated in Cebu City on Jan. 24 to 31 2016, the pilgrim symbol of the 51st global gathering visited the Archdiocese of Caceres from March 7 to 10, before it proceeded with its nationwide pilgrimage.
For IEC Over-all Chairman and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, “This visit is a visit of God.”
The arrival of the icon in every diocese is viewed as both promotional and spiritual.
According to organizers, it drumbeats the occasion and gives awareness to the Congress, thereby soliciting participation in the said occasion. Second, it reminds Filipinos of their faith journey, of the 5th centenary of the arrival of Christianity on Philippine soil through the shores of Cebu back in 1521.
But more than just a reminder, this spiritual visit also calls for the renewal of one’s faith – a deeper relationship with God through a personal encounter with Him in the Eucharist, said Jene Lois Sarmiento, a seminarian of the diocese.
The visit highlighted various liturgical celebrations centered on the Holy Eucharist and zealous participation in the eucharistic celebration – full, active and conscious, is the response called for of every Christian.
The journey of an ‘Icon’
The pilgrim symbol was introduced and explained by way of Catechesis. According to Sarmiento, the Cross of Magellan symbolizes the Christianization of the Philippines, placing Filipinos in proximity with God because He is visiting them. The Shrine that contains the Cross signifies the Church.
Under the local Catholic Church in the Philippines, Sarmiento explained, all Catholics are constituted towards one lifelong commitment and calling: to serve God through others.
The images found at the bottom of the pilgrim symbol are that of Filipino saints Lorenzo Ruiz and Pedro Calungsod, St. Joseph and Mary, Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. The nationwide pilgrimage of the ‘Icon’ started in Oct. 2014 in the Vicariates of the Archdiocese of Cebu. It will go around various dioceses and archdioceses in the country and will return to Cebu on the Solemnity of Christ the King, Nov. 22, 2015.
‘Piso Para sa Misa ng Mundo’
The Piso Para sa Misa ng Mundo, a fund-raising program for the 51st IEC, was also launched in the Archdiocese during the said visit. This project aims to support and financially aid the preparations needed for the global event.
The “affordability “of the piso-piso program is said to be the primary consideration for the project, which calls for unity and contributions even in small ways for the IEC.
This is the second time for the Philippines to host the IEC, the first being in February 1937. It was the first IEC in Asia and was held in the Archdiocese of Manila. Pope Pius XI was then the Pope.
The Congress on 2016 will center on the theme: “Christ in You: Our hope of Glory.” (Mylene Velasco/Natalie Quimlat/CBCPNews)