Bishop Cortes urges faithful: Pray for success of 51st International Eucharistic Congress in 2016

January 27, 2015 1:33 am 

DUMAGUETE CITY, Jan. 26 –- The Most Rev. Julito B. Cortes, bishop of the Diocese of Dumaguete, has exhorted the Catholic faithful to pray for the success of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) scheduled in January 2016 in Cebu City, the Philippines.

Bishop Cortes sounded off his call as he presided the Eucharistic Celebration Sunday afternoon following the arrival of the 2015 IEC pilgrimage symbol to the Diocese of Dumaguete.

The Diocese of Dumaguete is the first diocese outside of Cebu to receive the 51ST IEC symbol – a replica of the shrine that houses Magellan’s cross – to signal the start of the national pilgrimage across the country.

Bishop Cortes, in his homily during the concelebrated mass Sunday afternoon at the St. Paul University-Dumaguete gymnasium, announced that the diocese’s reception of the pilgrimage icon signals the start of its commitment to undertake activities throughout the year in line with the international event set next year.

The Dumaguete prelate said the IEC can be divided into three parts, namely, the preparatory activities for this year, the actual celebration in 2016 and the implementation of the IEC’s “fruits”.

Cortes highlighted that while it is equally significant to participate actively in the preparations as well as the actual staging of the International Eucharistic Congress, more importantly is what happens afterwards and how does one actually live out what has been shared and promoted during the said event.

“Really, it is the challenge of renewal in our appreciation, understanding and love for the Eucharist”, that bears more weight, according to the bishop.

It is in the greater knowledge of the Word, about this great sacrament (Eucharist) that Cortes describes as a “great gift of the Lord to the Church”, that one can truly experience the love of the Lord.

“Eucharistic life is a life offered to the Lord in prayer, in public worship and living according to the mandate of God”, Bishop Cortes stressed.

Cortes also underscored the need for the formation of the faithful, not only those who will be participating in the IEC in Cebu but in all dioceses, on the importance and understanding of the Holy Eucharist where one must be ready to be “broken, blessed, make a sacrifice and share of ourselves and our gifts to others”, just like Christ did.

Scores of youths and other Catholic faithful welcomes the pilgrimage symbol to the Diocese of Dumaguete on Sunday, when it arrived from Cebu and accompanied by a team of event volunteers, headed Rev. Moenil Lapa, co-chairman of the IEC 2016 Committee on the symbol.

A mini-congress and a youth vigil was held at the SPUD gymnasium apart from the mass on Sunday.

The holy icon was brought Monday to Siaton in the south of the province for similar activities for the parishes there, to Tanjay City on Tuesday for the northern parishes and to Siquijor Island Wednesday for its final tour here before it departs for Bohol.

Bishop Cortes, regional 51ST IEC coordinator, appealed to pray not just for the success of the IEC and not just the resources to fund it, such as the Piso Para sa Misa ng Mundo, but for the security and safety of participants coming from all over the world.

At least 15,000 local and international participants are expected for the actual congress while about a million people are envisioned to attend the opening and closing Eucharistic celebrations in January 2016.

This is not to mention a possible repeat visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines, who has been invited to join the International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu next year.

The IEC 2016 symbol will be passed on to more than 80 dioceses in the country, with the national pilgrimage to end November 13, the day that marks the celebration of the solemnity of Christ, The King.

Msgr. Julius Perpetuo Heruela, diocesan coordinator of the 51st IEC pilgrimage symbol, expressed his gratitude for its “overwhelming, enthusiastic and warm welcome” in the Diocese of Dumaguete. (PNA)



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