5,000 kids to receive first communion today
(The Freeman) - January 29, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Daniel Cabrera, the child who was photographed studying under the light of a fast food chain branch in Mandaue City, will be among 5,000 children who will receive their first Holy Communion today.

The activity at the Cebu City Sports Center is one of the highlights of the ongoing International Eucharistic Congress.

“Excited na kaayo ko!” he said. “Ganahan ko madawat ang dugo ug lawas ni Kristo,” he said. During rehearsals yesterday, he wore a shirt printed with the line, “I broke bread with the world in Cebu.”

The nine-year-old said he prays for guidance and more blessings from God everyday.

The photo of him studying by the fast food chain branch went viral online.

Meanwhile, Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal who received his first communion in 1937 advised the first communicants – 4,500 from schools in Cebu and 500 street children from all over the country – to open their hearts to the Lord.

“They have to prepare themselves so that God will allow them to live longer like myself. At least they will have very good memory of what gotten to them here,” he said.

He received his communion during the first International Eucharistic Congress that the Philippines hosted. He was six years old then.

Now 83, Vidal could still recall how he braved the seas 77 years ago from Marinduque so he could receive his first communion in Manila. Vidal said it was his aunt, the head catechist of Marinduque, who made him join the event.

Vidal said that during his time, they were made conscious of the main purpose of the first communion. He encouraged the communicants to memorize and recite their prayers wholeheartedly.

 “Just like me in 1937, I memorized all songs because we were required so that we will not hold a booklet at all,” he said.

This time, he hopes some of the communicants would consider priesthood. Vidal, the fifth among six children, became a cardinal in 1985. He retired as Cebu archbishop in October 2010.

 “I never thought I will become a priest, bishop, and cardinal. So why couldn’t they be?” he said.

Road closures

In line with the IEC activities today, Cebu City Transportation Office acting head Rafael Yap announced that roads near the Cebu City Sports Center will be closed to vehicular traffic starting at 12 noon.

These include P. del Rosario Street from Pelaez Street to Leon Kilat Street; the portion of Osmeña Boulevard from Sanciangko Street to Arlington Pond Street; and the area of R.R. Landon Street from Pelaez Street up to the Cebu Sports Center.

The roads will be re-opened once the activity at the sports center is finished.

He asked for patience from the public anew.

“Let us set aside the temporary inconveniences we may suffer as a result of the event and, instead, focus on the honor and privilege of hosting the event by participating or by being aware,” Yap said.

Some public utility jeepneys will be rerouted to avoid traffic congestion.

PUJs from Guadalupe and Banawa going downtown area will have to turn right to B. Rodriguez Street, turn left to V. Rama Avenue, turn left to N. Bacalso Avenue, turn right to Leon Kilat Street, and turn left to Magallanes Street toward their destination.

PUJs from Barangays Lahug and Apas going downtown will have to take F. Ramos Street, turn right to Junquera Street, and turn right to Sanciangko Street toward their destination.

Vehicles from the north going to the south of Cebu and vice versa are advised to take the Cebu South Coastal Road. — /JMO (FREEMAN)


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