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Opinion

Statio Orbis: A family experience

STRAWS IN THE WIND - The Freeman

There have been a number of observations on the "Statio Orbis" or final Holy Mass of the International Eucharistic Congress held at the San Pedro Calungsod templete in SRP. This piece is an add-on.

Like many Cebuano families, we decided to join the gathering because we were aware that it was a sort of farewell celebration for an event that happens only once in our lifetime. Besides, our presence there would somehow assuage the guilty feeling we had for missing the outdoor Mass at the Cebu provincial Capitol ground and the Eucharistic procession that followed. And there was also our eight-year old grandson, who was very eager to be with the gathering having closely followed the IEC happenings on TV.

It was already past 2 p.m. when we arrived near the Filinvest complex from Laray, Inayawan. Here the traffic personnel directed our vehicle to turn left and park in the area. From there we - my wife, daughter, and daughter in-law with two of our grandchildren - decided to walk towards the venue which was more than a kilometer farther north. The sun was beating down on us and despite umbrellas discomfort was inevitable. Fortunately, a Cebu City bus came along and picked us up together with dozens of other people, thanks to acting mayor, Edgar Labella. At the site we positioned ourselves on the left side of the enclosure for delegates where we could see the exposures on the giant screen. We had brought portable seats so it was not an ordeal for us while waiting for the Holy Mass. When this started some minutes later, the crowed had thickened near where we were. As I looked around, there was a sea of people from far and near, and I felt a swelling of pride inside me as I beheld my fellow Cebuanos for their expression of love and devotion to Jesus.

Many of the faithful had come on foot, and many were standing throughout the two-hour ritual. But a sense of acceptance and joy seemed to prevail, and in fact the homily of His Eminence Charles Maung Cardinal Bo was interrupted from time to time with loud applause. Yet the air was filled with a palpable aura of solemnity as the faithful responded to the Eucharistic prayers.

The sun was still up by the hillside. Weather forecast said there was about 30 to 40 percent chances of rain. Actually, there was a slight drizzle early afternoon and even if a moderate rain fell it would have turned the entire complex into a field of mud and pools. That week there was rain morning and afternoon from Monday to Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, however, the sun came out. But early Sunday dark clouds started to mass towards the north, and rain was threatening. Miraculously, by early afternoon the sun showed its face. Surely the Lord Jesus took control of the weather that day.

After the Mass we were lucky to find an empty table in one of the restaurants at SM. As we dined a long queue of people were waiting outside. After the meal we waited for some 30 minutes in front of the mall for my daughter (Dr. Maria Suga) to pick us up with her vehicle. It was already eight o'clock when we started for home passing through the viaduct towards Plaza Independencia, the only route open. It was a round-about way because we were supposed to head south to Bulacao, Cebu City, but we had to take that route.

When we reached Natalio Bacalso Avenue our calvary started. Traffic was very heavy and vehicles were on bumper-to-bumper state. We were actually crawling hour after hour after another hour.

One of our "grandchildren" was complaining, but we calmed him down by explaining that we should accept whatever little inconvenience we had for the sake of Jesus who sacrificed Himself by dying on the cross for our sake.

And so tired but happy we arrived home at about 11 o'clock  that evening from a memorable experience with the once-in-a-lifetime encounter with the Lord at the IEC concluding celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

eladio.dioko@gmail.com.

AFTER THE MASS AS I CEBU CITY DR. MARIA SUGA EDGAR LABELLA HIS EMINENCE CHARLES MAUNG CARDINAL BO HOLY EUCHARIST HOLY MASS HOLY MASS OF THE INTERNATIONAL EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS NATALIO BACALSO AVENUE ON FRIDAY AND SATURDAY
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