January 30, 2016, 12:52p.m. – CEBU CITY – FILIPINO Catholics, branded historically as “pueblo amante de Maria,” the “beloved nation of Mary,” are called to strengthen their devotion to the Blessed Mother to have a deeper relationship with God.

In the final catechesis of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) titled “The Eucharist and Mary,” New York Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan described Mary as a bridge of faithfulness and an “intimate part of the Eucharist.”

“You want to be closer to Jesus at the Cross? Well then, be close to Mary because She is right there next to Him,” Dolan said during the penultimate day of the IEC.

The American prelate said Mary is present in all forms of the Eucharist—the Eucharist as sacrifice, meal and presence.

“Mary, the mother of our family, is always at the table with Jesus, with us, [the] Eucharist is sacrifice, with Mary there in front of the Cross,” the 65-year-old cardinal said.

Dolan echoed Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle’s call to restore “family meals.”

He started his talk by praising the warmth of Filipino Catholics here in the Philippines and in his archdiocese in the US.

“When we look in admiration on you, the people of the Philippines, we are touched very much by your strong devotion to the Eucharist and by your glowing love of Mary, the Mother of Jesus,” said Dolan, who almost missed the IEC because of blizzards in the US.


‘Boundless love’

The last testimony was given by Mary Sarindhorn, a lay witness who was detained in Thailand for a crime she did not commit.

Sarindhorn said the “scar” she obtained from sufferings and tests of faith has been filled with love of God, her children, and others around her.

“It is much, much more difficult to forgive someone you love but betrayed you. However, once you are able to do so, you are free. You can walk away from the fire and breathe fresh air again,” she said.

The author of the book “Moving the Mountains” narrated how she healed herself emotionally and spiritually for six years after she was freed in 1994. It was in 1996 when Sarindhorn was baptized in the Catholic Church.

“Feeling ecstatic, I felt like I was reborn. I then channeled all my energy into serving God. Through the communion we receive, we’d feel a renewed sense of freshness instilled in our soul enabling us to serve God tirelessly and continually.”

Sarindhorn now uses her story as a Catholic speaker and evangelizer to the business, judiciary, political, and military sectors.

Her book led her to become the first Catholic to be able to talk about God on a national television program in Thailand. Angeli Mae S. Cantillana


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