CEBU CITY—RENOWNED Catholic speakers at the 51st International Eucharistic Congress lauded Filipinos’ religious fervor for keeping the 2,000-year-old Church vibrant.

Bishop Robert Barron, auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, applauded the Philippine Church’s influence on the global Church.

“I do not know any Church in the world that is more vibrant than the Filipino Church. [It] is the Filipino community that makes the Church alive,” Barron said in his catechesis on the third day of the 51st IEC.

The 56-year-old bishop said the Filipino faithful had taken on the role of evangelizing the rest of the Catholic world.

“I do think, in God’s often strange providence, he’ll take a particular Church, a particular people, and use them as a means to invigorate and to evangelize. I do believe you are playing that role now,” Barron said.

Marian Servaas, professor at the Catholic University of Belgium, described Filipino joy as “a gift to the world.”

“You, Filipinos, are to me, very sacramental. Your joy is related to thankfulness and humility. Please do not lose it. Do not choose artificial happiness,” Servaas said.

‘Painful realignment’

Reflecting on the theme “The Eucharist: Celebration of the Paschal Mystery,” Barron emphasized the need to partake in the sacrifice of Jesus through the Eucharist.

The Eucharist’s sacrificial nature should not be ignored because humanity came out of Jesus’ sacrifices, he said.

“There is no communion without sacrifice. Through this painful realignment, divinity and humanity are brought together,” said Barron.

In his homily during the Eucharistic celebration last Jan. 26, Manila Archbishop Emeritus Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales stressed the sacrifice and commemoration that take place during the Breaking of the Bread.

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“The sacrifice and death of Christ is repeated in His own words, body, blood, bread and wine. The history of humanity encompasses all kinds of sins,” said Rosales.

Rosales, who witnessed the first Philippine hosting of the IEC as a young boy in 1937, called on pilgrims to treat the Eucharist as a “mission” and not to keep it among themselves.

“Do the Eucharist, live the Eucharist. Allow the body and blood of Jesus in you to roam the streets, offices and schools, and in homes where families engage in dialogue,” Rosales said.

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