As the Philippines prepare to host the 51st International Eucharistic Congress in January, the country’s Catholics are preparing by praying over the gathering’s theme, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
The Eucharistic Congress will be hosted by the Archdiocese of Cebu Jan. 24-30, 2016.
“We feel privileged, and thank the Lord for the opportunity to host the 51st International Eucharistic Congress, because our country had hosted the same congress back in 1937,” said Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu.
“The theme, ‘Christ in you our hope of glory’, is centered on Jesus who is with us, because he is the fulfillment of the Father’s plan,” the archbishop told CNA.
The Eucharistic Congress will be an opportunity for catechesis and fostering a Eucharistic ecclesiology.
Archbishop Palma noted Filipinos’ enthusiasm for the faith, coupled with their challenges, including economic poverty.
“We may be poor in many aspects of life, but I believe, as Pope Francis has said, ‘We are happy in faith.’”
The archbishop added that Catholics in the Philippines have something to offer those who will visit Cebu for the Eucharistic Congress.
“We believe that when the participants come, they will also share our own way of thanking the Lord, and will experience other dimensions of the faith, such as our Filipino popular religiosity, devotions, the way we pray, and our joyful fellowship. They will have an insight into the faith life of the Filipino people.”
The International Eucharistic Congress is expected to draw to Cebu more than 15,000 participants from over 90 countries around the world. More than 1,000 local families have agreed to open their homes to delegates.
Archbishop Palma reflected that the Filipino bishops are preparing for the congress by focusing on families as “Eucharistic disciples.”
Speakers at the Eucharistic Congress include Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York; Bishop Robert Barron, auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles; Cardinal John Onaiyekan of Abuja; and Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay.
Other speakers include Fr. Mark Francis, CSV; Fr. Francis Moloney, SDB; Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, OP; Archbishop Piero Marini, president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses; and Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila.
By Antonio Anup Gonsalves