CEBU City, Jan. 30, 2016–A missionary delegate was reminded of the Catholic faithful’s mission during his Visita Iglesia experience during the ongoing 51st International Eucharisti Congress (IEC) in this city.
Fr. Thomas Gomez, a Bangladeshi missionary to Canada shared his reflection on the Visita Iglesia, comparing the “way delegates walk toward the churches taking different route”’ to how God “sends us to mission in different ways.”
He also noted that the delegates traveled on different paths but always towards one Church, just like how the faithful have different missions, all leading to the path towards the Kingdom of Heaven.
“All roads go to the church and all the roads from the church sent us to the mission–we are walking to the church now just [like how] the Lord sends us to the mission in different ways,” he explained in an interview with CBCP News.
Faith for all
The IEC Visita Iglesia was an open-to-all activity where even non-IEC delegates could join the official delegates.
“The Visita Iglesia experience was even more powerful because it was open to all. It was all the more welcoming and the local parishioners were gleeful,” said Michael Laxina, a participant.
“We had communal prayer and it felt like a ‘global Visita Iglesia’ because of the enternational delegates,” he added.
The participants were also given a glimpse of how Filipinos practice the Catholic faith.
“Each country, even though the faith is [the] same, the practice is different. Here, the people are more church-going, for some–even though they are poor they are rich in heart–they want to become richer and so they go to the church,” explained Gomez.
Journeying with Jesus
“Now, we are practicing here all together, we are journeying with the Lord, I think now we are living the same faith and the same way of faith,” he added.
Cebu is wonderful!” Fr. Gomez also noted.
Each group visited four of the seven participating churches. The delegates were transported by IEC buses and dropped off at one point from where they walk edtheir way to the other churches included in the itinerary.
Seven of the churches visited in this walking pilgrimage were the: Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish in Escario, Asilo de la Medalla Milagrosa, Our Mother of Perpetual Help, Sacred Heart Parish in Jokosalem, the Santo Rosario Parish, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, and the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño. (Chrixy Paguirigan / CBCP News with Reports from Berna Manipon)