CEBU City, Jan. 25, 2016 – Despite years of promotion some Catholics in Cebu still seem “clueless” about the meaning and importance of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC).
While many have heard of the religious event through radio announcements and other forms of mass media, they tend to think the event is just an occasional gathering of the faithful.
“I am not really familiar with it. I only confirmed this morning there are lots of people coming over [to Cebu],” said Jun Catalonia, a family man who earns extra driving a cab.
‘Happy for Cebu’
When told that leaders of the local Church had earlier received the representative of Pope Francis at the airport, Yangon Archbishop Charles Cardinal Maung Bo, Catalonia excused himself saying he was just listening to the news.
He went on to confess he has been missing his Sunday obligations lately since it’s the only day he is allowed to drive.
However, the 44-year old father of five expressed pride his hometown is hosting a series of activities of such scale.
“I am happy this event is putting Cebu on the map. It also means I will get more passengers,” he added in Cebuano.
Likewise, the “yellow ladies” surrounding the Magellan’s Cross have little to no clue about the IEC Opening Mass being celebrated at the nearby Plaza Independencia on Sunday, Jan. 24.
“It [IEC] came here only now so we cannot say much,” explained Lucia Velasquez, 62, who offers candles and “prayer-dances” to visitors for a living.
Praying for the IEC delegates
She only noted the unusual increase of people visiting the Minor Basilica of the Santo Niño.
“As always, they are asking us to help them pray to the ‘Batang Balaan’ [Holy Child] for their family, health, employment, success in the board exams, and other blessings,” shared Velasquez.
Her companion, Carmen Castro, 72, gave a similar answer but promised to pray also for the congress delegates.
Alejandra Paradero, a 55 year-old hawking lettuce outside the Basilica, admitted not knowing there would be a Mass at the Plaza, let alone what a Eucharistic Congress is.
“Sorry. I am from Busay. I live far away from the city. I only came here to sell lettuce,” she said. (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)