By Lilu Aliño
“The image is too big to capture,” Msgr. Raul Go, head of the IEC 2016 website committee, texted when I asked him if he was able to capture the moment. Indeed, the experience at the procession of the Blessed Sacrament was overwhelming and indescribable. The procession of the Catholic faithful from the Capitol to Plaza Independencia to bring the cross with the presence of Jesus Christ in a consecrated host was long and slow. It was almost a 3-hour walk for us but our candle lights burned and turned into a sea of illuminating wonder with hearts burning with love for the Eucharist.
Angela was tired and thirsty; it was like a penitential walk. Joining the long and arduous procession made her recall what must have been the experience of the crucified Christ as he carried the cross to Calvary. “This is nothing compared to what the Lord experienced!” Angela shared how touched she has been by her experience in the IEC in Cebu. “It has been fantastic, people are so friendly and helpful. We are treated like royalty,” said Angela.
At the procession, I encountered Chris, a 21 year old from Consolacion. “Since the start of the IEC, I only have four hours sleep each day. Pero kaya ra gyud nako, dili kapoy. (I can manage, I don’t feel tired.)” said Chris, “if it’s for God, I have no complaints.” As volunteer for the transportation committee, he has to be at his assigned bus by 4am then ends his duties at 9pm, then home by 11pm. “I cannot miss being part of this once-in-a-lifetime event,” he added. Now, he has a better understanding of the Eucharist plus he made a lot of friends at the IEC. He said, for him, “It’s a happy feeling!”
“I was meant to experience this profound feeling,” said Dette. I had wanted to be an official delegate but due to my busy schedule it escaped my mind. Upon realizing that she can’t forgo the IEC without doing her part, she requested a friend to let her experience the IEC through volunteer work. Dette thought she would just stay until the mass, but was carried away physically and figuratively by the intensity of the homily and being among the pilgrims. Not prepared for the long procession, she did not wear the proper attire for a long walk. Her feet hurt badly and she was sweating profusely. But she stayed on, remembering Christ’s sacrifice. “Jesus blessed me and gave me this opportunity to be with Him,” said Dette. She liked the prayers and singing along the route, even if it was in different languages. Walking beside Dette for the 3-hour walk gave time for some sharing about our lives and in the process we gained a friendship.
Cathechist and Lector
San Jose Parish
Rosario, Aloguinsan, Cebu
“Nindot kaayo, nasinati nako nga morag naglakaw padung sa langit, labi na pag-abot namo sa plaza nga naa si Cristo nga nagdupa ug ni-welcome namo. Dili matukib ang kanindot sa akong gibati. Puno sa kanindot sa mga bulak ug kadaghan sa mga pari, ug sa mga pilgrims sama namo nga na’ay sugo sa simbahan.”
(It is very beautiful, it’s like experiencing a walk towards heaven, especially when we reached the plaza where I saw the image of Christ with his outreached and welcoming arms. I cannot fathom the wonderful feeling. The place was full of beautiful flowers and many priests and the many pilgrims like us who have a mission for the church.)
When I reached home, I asked my sister-in-law, Sofia Logarta, how it was watching the procession on television. She said excitedly, “it was like capturing the moment of light and burning devotion, like one heart beating.”