Eucharistic Congress calls for love, compassion for the poor
(The Philippine Star) - January 24, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A mass, celebrated in a humble plaza to show the message of hope, kicked off the 51st International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu City yesterday.

Yangon Archbishop Charles Maung Cardinal Bo, who was sent by Pope Francis to represent him in the weeklong event, said in the homily that the Eucharist and the poor are inseparable as he noted that 20,000 children die every day, about 90,000 a month or 10 million a year due to starvation and malnutrition.

Calling on everyone to give love and compassion for the poor, the papal legate stressed that the biggest mortal sin is seeing a child die of starvation.

Cardinal Bo is set to visit the Cebu provincial jail tomorrow and, in the following days, a vocational school and a training facility for the poor and out-of-school youth.

“In our world, where there is a shortage of hope, mankind needs to hear the message of hope in Christ Jesus,” said Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma in a post on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) news website.

He added that since the Congress is an event of hope, Cardinal Bo wants to show this message by interacting with those who languish in prison and spending time with a number of Cebu’s poor children.

Bo will visit the Don Bosco Training and Youth Center, established by his Filipino confreres to reach out to poor children and out-of-school youths, and a vocational school in Barangay Pasil, which is identified as one of the city’s most depressed areas.

Palma also said Pope Francis tapped two priests – Marvin Mejia and Dominic Bar Bu – for “special pontifical missions” that he did not specify.

In the mass celebrated at the Plaza Independencia, Cardinal Bo reminded everyone that all humans are equal before the Eucharist.

 “Today, we have gathered from various backgrounds, the rich and the poor, the noble and the blessed, aristocrat and the servant, but when you approach the altar, the Eucharist strips you of all your social stages. You are equal among equals in an unequal and uncaring world,” he said.

 At least 1,500 priests, 200 bishops and 10 cardinals concelebrated the mass with Archbishop Palma presenting the Holy Bible given by Pope Francis as a gift. Authorities estimated the total attendees at 400,000.

Palma said the Eucharist is the primary source of renewal, center of community and hope of glory.

 ‘Down to earth’

Cardinal Bo, 66, is the archbishop of Yangon and represents Pope Francis in the 51st congress. The pope proclaimed him a cardinal on Feb. 14, 2015.

Bishop Mylo Hubert Claudio Vergara, chairman of the CBCP episcopal commission on social communications and mass media, described him as a very “down to earth” person and one who is in touch with the masses.

 “Let us expect an Asian cardinal who will definitely be one with us. Definitely, we will see Jesus in him,” Vergara said.

 Cardinal Bo is said to represent those who are in the peripheries. Coming from Myanmar, he is familiar with the cries of the marginalized, peace and order problems, and the situations in Asian nations.

 

ACIRC ARCHBISHOP PALMA BARANGAY PASIL BISHOP MYLO HUBERT CLAUDIO VERGARA CARDINAL CARDINAL BO CATHOLIC BISHOPS CEBU CEBU ARCHBISHOP JOSE PALMA NBSP POPE FRANCIS
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