The IEC message to Cebuanos: Protect family, also attract youth to attend Church activities
(The Freeman) - February 1, 2016 - 3:19am

CEBU, Philippines – With the conclusion of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress, the Roman Catholic Church hopes to spread the message of preserving the value of the family and inviting more youths to be active in church duties.

His Eminence Charles Cardinal Bo, who represented Pope Francis to the weeklong event in Cebu, urged the faithful to keep oneness within families saying in them lies the “hope of glory.”

“Families, Christ in you is the hope of glory. The family is the first Communion. The family is the nucleus of the Church. Family breaks the Bread every day. The family needs to be protected, promoted, and nurtured,” said Bo.

He said the IEC this year hopes to end with a stronger resolve to preserve the family as an indispensable treasure to the Church and as the future of humanity.

“Death of family is death of humanity,” he said, even urging Filipino families “na magparami ng anak.”

Quoting Pope Francis, Bo said the greatest danger is destruction of families, not environmental or economic injustices. But the Church, he said, also stands before the challenge of drawing more youths closer to it.

“The future does not belong to countries that have oil or weapons. The future belongs to the nation with young people,” he said.

In the Philippines, Bo said, those 25 years old and below now account for about 52 percent of the population. The challenge is to convince them to return to the Church.

“Instead of expecting the youth to return to the church, the church must return to the youth. A church that neglects the youth writes its own death sentence,” Bo said.

Bo’s 40-minute homily touched on various subjects, including moral power as the greatest power, the need for hope, and the Church not being an “income-generating agency” but a “home-generating fellowship.”

Attendees applauded him each time he spoke a point in either Cebuano or Tagalog.

“Nahihiya ako na maging representante ng Santo Padre. Karon akong problema di na ko ganahan mobiya sa Cebu,” he said.

“Nahigugma ako sa Cebu, nahigugma sa inyong pagkamaabi-abion, nahigugma sa inyong pagkaon, nahigugma sa inyong pahoyom, ilabi na sa inyong layom na pagtuo,” he said.

Bo also called the Philippines blessed for being the Catholic Church’s favorite daughter in Asia. He said the nation is poised to become its “eldest daughter” in the whole world in this millennium.

“Nahigugma sa Cebu. I love Cebu. Seven days we were on the same table. We have explored the Eucharist in all dimensions with the theme ‘Christ in us, our hope of glory.’ Eucharist is source and goal and vision. Seventy-one countries received the spiritual food that nourish us through our faith, adoration, beautiful liturgy and our enriching fellowship, beautiful lectures, grand Eucharistic procession.

“How  can  we  forget  the warmth,  the  smile,  the  dance, the  piety, and  the  fellowship  of all  of  you.  What a deep experience of table fellowship!” Bo addressed the crowd, earning their enthusiastic applause.

In the end, the prelate asked the crowd to pray for him as he would for them.

Among the crowd yesterday was the 600-strong Taiwanese delegation who was accompanied by their state vice president Chen Chien-Jen.

Palma acknowledged them during his message of thanks.

Clear skies at SRP

Contrary to predictions it did not rain yesterday, but the sun also made it difficult for some mass goers, especially those who opted to walk to the venue rather than wait in long lines for the bus service to take them there.

Yesterday’s sudden changes of weather did not stop many Catholic faithful coming from different provinces in Cebu to go to the South Road Properties to hear the Statio Orbis or the final mass for the 51st International Eucharistic Congress.

Some of them are the 15 parishioners from Basak, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu who stayed outside the venue several hours before the mass started squatting using a tarpaulin to keep away from the sun.

One of them, Cristina Dumo, 50, said using their own expenses, they really made sure they could attend the Statio Orbis because it is a very rare opportunity.

She said they arrived at the venue around 9 a.m. even though the mass was scheduled at 4 p.m. so they can get a good spot.

“Diri na mi namahaw, nag-snack, paniudto hangtod nahuman ang misa karon,” said Dumo.

Meanwhile, Alpiniana Haramil, 69, from Lipata, Minglanilla, Cebu, did not mind going to the venue alone despite having no vehicle.

Haramil, a retired teacher, said she was very thankful to God for giving an instrument for her to arrive at the venue safe and sound.

“Nang-hitch intawn ko uy. Maayo gani kay naa’y nakakita nako diha dapit eskina sa Talisay padung SRP,” said Haramil.

Many attendees also brought their own chairs, others ignored the order not to bring umbrellas.

There was a lot of dancing from the enthusiastic crowd right after the Mass as they dance the upbeat song “I love Cebu”. Some bishops and foreign delegates even joined the dancing.

Some of the foreign media covering the event could not help but be amazed of the 3,000-member choir, who sung all throughout the Mass from the bleachers.


Acting Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella said with the successful hosting of two international events —the Mega Sinulog and 51st IEC— he is eyeing giving incentives to all who worked for the success of the two events.

Labella said hosting of the IEC will be inculcated in the hearts and minds of Cebuanos.

“After Cebu City’s hosting of IEC, I hope the residents of the city will improve their relationship with the Eucharist,” he said.

CCTO executive director Rey Gealon said heavy traffic was experienced in N. Bacalso Avenue, Southbound and Northbound of SRP, Salvador Street, Katipunan Street, Inayawan, Mambaling, and other arterial roads of SRP account of the closure of Vestil Road.

He also said CCTO was on top of everything in terms of traffic operations and management since the first day of IEC.

1M in attendance

Senior Superintendent Benjamin Santos, Cebu City Police Office Director, said there those who attended the Mass reached up to one million.

Senior Superintendent Renato Dugan told reporters that the total deployed police forces were 6,000 on top of the other law enforcement units that were also deployed. To secure the crowd the police installed walk through scanner machines where mass goers would pass through for inspections.

Mass goers who wanted to get near the templete just behind the area designated for delegates had to go through the scanner machines.

Aside from that, K-9 units were also deployed as an additional security measure. The dogs and their handlers were roving around the perimeters to secure the area.

Minor incidents

A mass goer had to be treated by Department of Health personnel after he hurt his right foot. He wore slippers to the Mass and got wounded when he stepped on a metal bar.

His wound was cleaned and bandaged to prevent infection; he was also given a pain killer after complaining his wound stung.

Earlier a man who pretended to be a member of the City Intelligence Branch was arrested by an off-duty policeman along N. Bacalso Avenue after he was believed to be a threat to the closing Mass.

Dujie Geralde Canindo, 31, of Barangay Quiot, Cebu City, was arrested by Police Officer 1 Boggart Anor after he noticed the suspect in a jeepney wearing a police uniform without a badge and nameplate.

Out of curiosity Anor asked Canindo to which unit he belonged and the latter said he belong to the CIB but is “schooling” in Talamban. His answer prompted the police to arrest the suspect because the Regional Training School 7 is located in Consolacion town.

Police recovered a gun replica and a screwdriver from the suspect. He was turned over the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group 7 for further investigation. — Kristine B. Quintas, John M. Destacamento, Ma. Fatima R. Secuya, Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon, Bryner L. Diaz, Jean Marvette A. Demecillo/BRP (FREEMAN)

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