by Krisha Socito
The sixth and last press conference happened at the IEC pavilion last Jan 29.
The panel was composed of the President of the 51st IEC, Archbishop Jose Palma, Chairman of the IEC commissions, Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara, a member of the IEC theological commission, Fr. Jose Quilongquilong and the lay witnesses: Ma. Georgia Cogtas, Mary Sarindhorn and Marianne Servaas.
Fr. Jose Quilongquilong gave the daily summary of activities. On the sixth day, there has been two catechesis and one testimony shared.
A Catechesis on “The Eucharist: Dialogue with the Poor and the Suffering” by His Eminence John Cardinal Onaiyekan. For the Poor, the Eucharist is a source to know that God is good. For the suffering, the Eucharist has been a source of strength and courage for Christians under persecution for the sake of Christ. Onaiyekan also shared about the three dimensions of the Eucharist: Real presence, Sacrifice and Communion. After his talk, He was given a birthday tribute.
A testimony by Ms. Ma. Georgia Cogtas, who shared about her life as a former street child and now as an active participant in organizing activities for street children such as catechism and feeding programs. Cogtas expressed that her involvement with the street children is the best gift she could receive and that it will never be taken away.
A reflection of the Catechesis on “The Eucharist in the Church’s Dialogue with Religions” by His Eminence Oswald Cardinal Gracias was read by Archbishop Dominic Jala as Gracias could not come to the event. The catechesis focused on two points: The spiritual significance of food on various religions and the highly treasure Eucharistic values as common ground for dialogue.
Summarizing the events on the sixth day, Fr. Jose Quilongquilong gave the word presence. “The presence of God in our prayerful and Eucharistic assembly, the presence of God who identified himself with the poor, presence of God in our human experiences of pain, suffering and joy, and lastly, presence of God in our work of dialogue with other religions.” Quilongquilong said.
As lay witnesses, Servaas, Sarindhorn and Cogtas, filled the gap between the faith they professed and in the lives they’ve been living.
Sarindhorn, who will give her testimony on January 30, said that when she was persecuted for 15 years for a crime she did not commit. There was a point in her life that she wanted to kill herself but she felt someone speaking to her without her awareness. The voice said, “Don’t give up my child”. This gave her hope to which her prayers were answered and that she was saved by God.
Servaas, mentioned in her testimony last Tuesday, “We (the west) have become less human than Filipinos are.” She explained that three things the west can learn from the Filipinos is the sense of joy, trust and openness.