IT’s quite an honor and a large blessing for us Filipinos that the Roman Catholic Church’s 51st International Eucharistic Congress, which starts today and ends on January 31, is being held in Cebu.
This is the second time the Philippines is the venue of such an important event in the Church. The 33rd International Eucharistic Congress was held in Manila, from February 3 to 7, in 1937, when the Holy Father was Pope Pius XI. It was the first IEC in Asia.
Some one and a half million people from all over the world attended the 1937 IEC. There was a religious procession in which 600,000 people participated. At the Luneta, pontifical masses were celebrated, attended by hundreds of thousands.
The theme of 51st IEC is “Christ in you, our hope of glory (Col 1:27).” Like every local, national and international eucharistic congress, the aim of this one in Cebu is to strengthen the people’s faith by making them more aware of the core position of the Eucharist in the Church. As Pope Francis has said “The Eucharist is what makes the Church.”
The Holy Father also said: “The 51st International Eucharistic Congress offers the opportunity to experience and comprehend the Eucharist as a transformative encounter with the Lord in his word and in his sacrifice of love, so that all may have life, and live in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10). It is a propitious occasion to rediscover the faith as a source of Grace that brings joy and hope in personal, familial and social life.”
Prayer for the 51st IEC
Since 2014, many parishes have been praying the special prayer prepared for the 51st IEC in Cebu. Some parish priests have urged the faithful to stay say the prayer before or after the final blessing of every Sunday Mass, while others have had it prayed after every Mass.
It’s not too late to pray it and help make the Cebu IEC a success—in yourself (your heart and mind and body) and among your family members and friends. Here is the prayer: is:
Lord Jesus Christ, our hope of glory,
You are the fulfillment of the Father’s plan to save all humanity,
You are the mystery hidden from the ages
and from generations past, now manifested to us.
You abide in your Church and in the most holy Sacrament of the Eucharist.
As we celebrate the Holy Eucharist and receive your Body and Blood,
grant us the awareness that your presence in us
urges us to continue your saving mission in the world.
Send us your Holy Spirit,
that He may lead us to walk humbly
with the poor and the marginalized,
in the company of Mary, your most holy mother and ours.
O Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament,
To you be all honor and glory and praise
in the unity of the Father and the Holy Spirit,
One God, forever and ever.