January 25, 2016, 8:11p.m. – CEBU CITY – THE 51st INTERNATIONAL Eucharistic Congress (IEC) serves as an “eye opener” to realities concerning faith, religious persecution, and the relevance of traditional liturgy and worship.

During the press conference for the second day of the IEC, the panel of speakers, led by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma and Archbishop Piero Marini, president of the Vatican committee on eucharistic congresses, spoke about the Eucharist as a source of strength and unity among the faithful especially during times of harsh realities like armed conflicts, natural disasters and poverty.

Palma said the congress seeks to encourage people to not only trust in God but also act like the “Eucharistic people” expected of them.

“We hope and rely on the goodness of the Lord. But hope also challenges us that we also do what we can do,” Palma said.

Marini also called on Christians to “become signs of what they celebrate,” and turn into action what they celebrate in Mass.

Touching on the issue of Christian persecutions, Palma said the country was blessed for being able to practice faith without the threat of persecution. However, he warned against being too complacent in practice, considering the Philippines is a Catholic majority.

The Cebu archbishop said people in other countries who celebrate the Eucharist despite the risk of religious persecution display a kind of faith that is “precious to the Lord.”

Earlier during the second day of the congress proper, Hong Kong Bishop Emeritus Joseph Cardinal Zen gave his testimony on the persecution of Christians in China.

“The message of the cardinal is a way of reminding us that when we look at faith, we realize that faith is a gift and it has many dimensions, ” Palma said.

Asked on what the Church was contemplating to engage the youth and whether a newer approach in celebrating Mass was needed, Marini explained the need to adapt the liturgy to particular circumstances.

Marini said “inculturation” of the liturgy in different countries, including the Philippines, had obtained the approval of the Vatican but there were still many things to consider before implementing changes.

“It is a slow process. There is a need to return to varieties,” Marini said, referring to the varying liturgies of the early Christians in Rome, North Africa and the Byzantine empire. Danielle Ann F. Gabriel


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