After the IEC, where do we go from here?

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Freeman) - January 31, 2016 - 9:00am

I did have a postscript to the 51st International Eucharistic Congress for my talkshow on Straight from the Sky with my good friend, Mr. Edwin Lopez, the Asian-Pacific head of the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), which I taped last Saturday at the EWTN studios inside the IEC Pavilion. However, this week is a milestone for me and my classmates at the University of San Carlos Boys High School (USC-BHS), which is celebrating our 50th Golden Anniversary this week, specifically this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So I decided to move my EWTN interview next Monday.

So tonight we have with us our two USC-BHS Class 1966 high school classmates, Senior Superintendent (Police General) Manuel Cabigon (retired) and William “Bill” Uybengkee who will talk about their lives after we graduated in high school, and yes we also talk about our high school days when we were boisterous kids.                        

Honestly, I invited at least 12 of my classmates to appear in this show but all of them, except my two guests, were camera shy. So let’s forgive them for not showing up in this show tonight. So watch this interview of our high school days on SkyCable’s channel 61 at 8:00PM tonight with replays on Wednesday and Saturday at the same time slot. We also have replays on MyTV’s channel 30 at 9:00PM tonight with other replays on Wednesday and Friday at 7:00AM and 9:00PM respectively.

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Finally after more than a year’s preparation a full week of spiritually uplifting activities, the 51st International Eucharistic Congress becomes part of Cebu’s rich and cultural heritage and history as it leaves an indelible memory etched in my brains. As I already wrote last week, the IEC leaves Cebuanos a great legacy starting with the fabulous IEC Pavilion, which is now the largest edifice in Cebu that can hold conferences and music concerts to hold more than 15,000 people.

The IEC also gave Cebu a week of people using a hundred buses that Ceres Bus Company will be using as the Mindanao Star. This means when you visit Mindanao and take a bus to where you want to go, you will be using those buses. But what Cebuanos learned is that, Cebu can learn to leap forward to the 21st century and shift to buses so that a great majority of the riding public (including our tourists) can ride in air-conditioned buses. This is a lesson learned from the IEC.

Perhaps the best and the biggest legacy that the IEC gave us is the reality that there are millions of the Catholic faithful who truly believes in the real presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, his body, blood, soul and divinity in the Holy Eucharist. We all saw the nearly two-million people who joined the Holy Mass in the front of the Provincial Capitol, followed by the procession of the Blessed Sacrament from the Capitol to the Plaza Independencia. It was the biggest procession that Cebu ever saw.

Indeed it was a blessed week for the many friends who participated in the IEC. All the speakers were great speakers from Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles, Timothy Cardinal Dolan of New York, Manila’s Antonio Cardinal Tagle and Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines President Soc Villegas who did the penitential rite.

For me, watching the talk of Msgr. Robert Barron (I missed it last Tuesday, so I saw it on YouTube) was very memorable because he linked the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, as a real sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ in Mt. Calvary. But he linked the Holy Mass to offering of blood sacrifices in the Temple by the Jews and how it all started from the time of Abraham.

If you read your Genesis, Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice his son Isaac on the altar, and he obeyed God and when he was about to slay his only son, an Angel grabbed his arm and showed him a ram stuck in the bush. When we sin, we are supposed to be sacrificed with our death. But when our Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross, he died for our sins and gave us eternal life. This is why the Catholic Church calls it Eucharist, a thanksgiving for the only begotten Son of God who became man to die for us.

So Msgr. Barron said that the most important parts of the Holy Mass is when the words of consecration is spoken and the wafer (it still looks and tastes like a wafer) becomes the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ because he willed it to be his body. The other important word spoken by the priest is “Ite missa est”, which is in Latin for “Go, the Mass is ended” and we are sent by the priest to preach the Good News of the gospel.

With this message for the IEC delegates and given to the rest of the world, let us hope that we will give our Lord Jesus Christ his glory in accepting his body, blood, soul, and divinity in the Holy Eucharist. So now the only question remaining is: after the IEC, where do we go from here?

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