Priest to faithful: ‘Pray for IEC’

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The faithful attend the Opening Mass of the 51st IEC at the Plaza Independencia, Jan. 24, 2016. (Photo: Roy Lagarde)

TACLOBAN City, Jan. 24, 2016 – As the 51st International Eucharistic Congress commences earlier today, a professor-priest in a seminary in the Archdiocese of Palo calls on the faithful to pray for its success.

Fr. Ivo Velasquez urged the people to also remember in their prayers the “fruits of the IEC.”

In his homily at the iconic Sto. Niño Church this city this morning, the youthful priest talked about the essence of understanding the substance of the Eucharist, which the people should learn to live by.

‘Christ with us’

“In the Eucharist, Christ is truly with us,” he said referring to the Holy Host and the Wine.

“These are not symbols of the Lord, but ‘Christ Himself present,’” stressed Velasquez.

He added this is why Catholics should not take the Holy Mass for granted.

The Holy Mass, being the highest form of prayer, cannot just be substituted by any prayer said outside the structural church, according to Velasquez.

“We come to church not to listen to opinions but to listen to God’s word,” he added.


Velasquez underscored the inclusion of every baptized Christian in the Body of Christ.

“We are here as a ‘church’, a community of God’s people coming together not by our own choice or by our own selection but by God’s will,” he stressed.

Velasquez, who is also spiritual director and formator of some faith groups in the archdiocese, expounded on the role that each person undertakes in the Church.

“We are all chosen to be part of the Church and each one of us plays a part, especially in spreading the Word of God,” he stated.

More than the structure

“It is not this structure that constitutes the Church which could be destroyed but all of us gathered here,” he spoke reiterating the message of Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle at the celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of the Diocese of Palo held at the then typhoon-wrecked Palo Metropolitan Cathedral in November 2013.

This fact, he said, is best understood by regular participation in the Holy Mass and in understanding more deeply the significance of the Holy Eucharist in man’s life.

In the Archdiocese of Palo, the clergy are attending the IEC in two batches, according to Fr. Ric Marpa, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Palo.

Church workers and volunteers have also registered to be participants in the said gathering, which Marpa described as “another worth-while experience among Catholics.” (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros / CBCP News)

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