Seminarians share their ‘IEC graces’

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Br. Stefano Panizzolo at the Plaza Independencia, Cebu City, Jan. 24, 2016 (Photo: Nirva Delacruz)

CEBU City, Jan. 27, 2016 – What would a future man of the cloth hope to receive at the International Eucharistic Congress (IEC)?

Grace, grace, and more grace.

The grace Br. Manuel Cervantes, a seminarian of the Legionaries of Christ in Italy, hopes to receive at the 51st IEC is intimately linked to his devotion to the Holy Mass, which has propelled his vocation for the last 9 years.

Life as liturgy

“The Mass for me, it’s the central moment of my day of my life… I want to make of my life a whole liturgy. And I ask God the grace so that I can fulfill this,” said the seminarian, who started his spiritual journey with Regnum Christi before entering the Legionari di Cristo – Centro di Studi Superiori in Rome.

Cervantes, who is together with a small, multi-racial delegation of seminarians at the IEC, said: “As [a] Christian, and I think as religious, and as a future priest, it’s a whole way of how we need to live.”

According to the 31-year old, the Eucharist with its act of repentance and Word of God, as well as other elements, constitutes a “a program of life”.

“The whole liturgy of the Eucharist, it’s a program of life. And I can see it in God’s self-giving for us, for the world.”

The seminarian, who is also a content creator for whynotpriest.org, a website devoted to promoting the priestly vocation, said attending the event is already “a huge grace for me to be able to go and expound and go deep and deep in my faith through the grace of God in this great moment of the Eucharist.”

‘Asian perspective’

For Br. Stefano Panizzolo, the undeniable vehicle of grace of the IEC is its geographic and socio-cultural setting of being held in the Philippines, in Asia.

“[What] I’m waiting for is to live this spirit as a universal church but also with an Asian aspect or experience, in a sense,” he explained.

Panizzolo said the IEC is an experience of the wider Church as one family.

“I’m here just to have a beautiful experience of the Church as the international family as a broad family… I also waited for an Asian experience of the Church and so, here all together but also under this perspective.”

51st IEC organizers said the number of delegates has exceeded 15,000, as originally targeted. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz / CBCP News)

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