CEBU City, Jan. 24, 2016 – Carrying with him Pope Francis’ message of humility in service, Myanmar’s first cardinal arrived in Cebu early this morning to fulfill his duties as papal legate to the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC), the quadrennial gathering of the faithful promoting the Holy Eucharist as the source and summit of Christian life.
Charles Maung Cardinal Bo, the archbishop of Yangon, arrived 8:00 a.m. at the Mactan Cebu International Airport with Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, the apostolic nuncio. He was welcomed by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, the IEC national chairman; Archbishop Piero Marini, president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses and other Church leaders.
“I am very happy to be here. I’m the pope’s legate. I’m not worthy but I came here just to give service and to convey the pope’s message,” Cardinal Bo told CBCP News.
At the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Cardinal Bo was welcomed by the faithful in a liturgical reception. Also present were Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, and Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, chairman of the committee on international eucharistic congresses of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
The Myanmar prelate said he would convey the papal message following the vision of the 51st IEC, as instructed by the Holy Father.
Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara said Cardinal Bo was a good example of a Church leader that is “in touch with the periphery,” the kind of shepherds that Pope Francis wanted to appoint as his closest collaborators.
“We will feel the presence of the pope through the papal legate,” Bishop Vergara, IEC communications chairman, told reporters in a press conference at the IEC Pavilion.
“He’s a very down-to-earth person. Expect the Asian cardinal to be one of us,” he added.
Cardinal Bo, one of 20 new cardinals created by Pope Francis in a consistory in February last year, was named by the Supreme Pontiff as papal legate to the 51st IEC last October.
Archbishop Palma earlier said Cardinal Bo would visit Cebu City inmates and a training and youth center established by the Myanmar prelate’s confreres in the Salesians of Don Bosco.
In international eucharistic congresses, a papal legate holds a position of honor as the personal representative of the pope. Cardinal Bo will lead the Holy Mass at Plaza Independencia at 4 p.m. today to open the 51st IEC. (CBCP News)