Pilgrimage to the Philippines

Twenty three of us returned to the US after completing our pilgrimage to the Philippines where we visited many shrines and also took part in the 51st International Eucharistic Congress that was held in Cebu. Delegates from 71 countries attended the Congress that was hosted by Archbishop of Cebu Jose Palma and was opened by the Papal Legate, Cardinal Bo from Myan-mar. Over 20,000 people attended the sessions and prayers and daily celebrations of the Eucharist and up to a million people attended the Eucharistic Procession and the closing Statio Orbis Mass. The congress had a distinct Asian emphasis and we heard wonderful speakers address issues like how to dialog wit the great Asian Religions and Cultures, how to evangelize, how to address issues of global poverty and hunger and how the Eucharist sends us forth to be Christ's presence to other people. We also heard a strong emphasis on how the church has to support families and youth. Cardinal Bo remarked that we speak of how the youth may have left the church when we should maybe speak about how the church has left the youth. We came away with a great appreciation for the Eucharist and its power to transform our lives and the life of the world.

We also enjoyed the hospitality and warmth of the Filipino people and we say to them "Mahal Ko Kayong lahat" and to the Cebuanos "Gihigugma Ko Kamong taman" Meaning we love all of you.

-Fr. Gene