CEBU City, Jan. 28, 2016 –Despite the jam-packed activities of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC), the venue’s adoration chapel remains the quiet place that welcomes all with non-stop adoration during the IEC program proper.
Congregations, schools, and organizations bring batches of “adorers”, mostly children and youth, schedule to spend a few minutes with Jesus.
“Every 45 minutes, there are [groups] scheduled to be adorers,” explained Lorraine Ross an usherette volunteer from Divino Amore Academy.
The priest’s role
Throughout the congress, these groups will keep on coming and adoring the Lord; volunteer ushers, choirs, brothers, and priests all leading them to prayer.
“It’s a passion for me to lead the children from a very young age to Jesus, because that’s the role of the priests, that’s probably the role number one, two, three of the priests: to bring Jesus to people and to bring people to Jesus,” said Fr. Thomas Antoine, one of the facilitators, on Jan. 26.
With no renowned speaker at the helm, the impact of the IEC’s adoration component is sure to ripple long after the 51st IEC closes.
“I feel comfortable facing the Eucharist. It’s like when you are facing the Eucharist, you are facing Jesus himself and He is comforting you and you feel that [Jesus is’] always at your side,” shared Melissa Gahuman, one of the adorers.
“It’s not my first experience with the children who are so available to the action of the Holy Spirit, I love them,” said Antoine when ask about his experience with the children.
‘Let children come to Me’
The priest cites Jesus’ own words about the Kingdom of Heaven belonging to the children and that they should not be hindered. His belief is anchored on this and said his mission is dedicated “to [letting] children be close to the heart of Jesus for them to gaze upon Him in adoration.”
“The ages between 5 and 10, it’s crucial to the religious education to bring them [to Jesus].”
“After 20 years of leading children in adoration, I feel after each session the same thing: I taught them how to pray but by watching them after I told them how to pray, they teach me the real attitude that Jesus asked [for in] adoration and that’s the great benefit for me,” shared Antoine.
Antoine, a native of France, has formed a children’s Eucharistic adoration program known as “Children of Hope”, which has since been leading many people, especially children, to Christ through adoration.
He has participated in Eucharistic Congresses in Guadalajara, St. Paul, Minnesota, Canada, and is now contributing to the IEC in the Philippines. (Chrixy Paguirigan / CBCP News)