Pope Benedict XVI announced last Sunday that the next International Eucharistic Congress will be held in Cebu city in the Philippines. What is the faith life like in that country? What can the Philippines show to the universal church?
My contact with Cebuanos living in Toronto during this week made me see how different their way of living faith is. One of the ladies I spoke with said “our faith comes from the heart”. That was really what I felt speaking with them.
The Philippines is a an archipelago comprising 7,107 islands and 92 million people who speak more than 1000 different dialects. One of the Canadian Filipinos told me that what keeps the Philippines united as country is the catholic faith.
Asia the biggest continent in the world and half of its Catholic population is located in the Philippines. Having the Eucharistic congress in this country make us wonder how big and beautiful it will be.
A city that is the first place where Magellan arrived in 1521, the city where he planted a cross to mark the day the king of Cebu was baptized, will now celebrate the Eucharist as the center of the faith.
The passionate the way of living faith in the Philippines became clear in 1995 when World Youth Day came to Manila, the capital of the country. It was the biggest event in the history of human kind with 5 million people attending.
This tells us what we can expect from the International Eucharistic Congress 2016 with people who love the Eucharist and for whom being catholic is part of their national identity. The Filipino church will have another big moment later on this year when Blessed Pedro Calungsod from Cebu is canonized in October 21 in Rome. As Archbishop Antonio Tagle of Manila said this will be a very good beginning for the preparation of the 51st
International Eucharistic congress in Cebu city.