Opening Doors for Delegates of the International Eucharistic Congress 2016

By Chelzee Salera

IEC Home Stay Seminar WorkshopIn cooperation with the Department of Tourism Region VII, the Pilgrim Accommodations Committee headed by Fr. Ruben Labajo initiated a seminar in the University of the Southern Philippines Foundation in Lahug, Cebu City for the host families who volunteered to provide shelter and food for the delegates for the upcoming International Eucharistic Congress which will be held on January 24 to 31, 2016.

In an interview with Fr. Ruben Labajo, he explained that the seminar was about the do’s and don’ts and the proper necessary etiquettes in accepting guests into one’s home.
“The seminar was about the proper behavior needed to accommodate guests. It included proper arrangement of beds, and dining etiquettes. It is possible that international delegates would opt to stay in an environment where they would be able to feel at home and would like to immerse with the families, thus we are preparing the host families who will be welcoming delegates into their houses, so that they would know how to handle the guests properly, said Fr. Labajo.”
The Pilgrim Accommodations Committee handles the preparations for the accommodations for the guests and delegates. The committee is composed of four sub-committees. One sub-committee namely the Reception Committee headed by Fr. Harvey Argoncillo will be welcoming the delegates and will be sending them off after the International Eucharistic Congress. The sub-committee on Hotel accommodations also headed by Fr. Ruben Labajo is in charge with the accommodations of guests and delegates who prefer to stay in hotels and pension houses. Another sub-committee headed by Fr. Antonio Zamora is in charge with the preparation of retreat houses for the accommodations of volunteers in the liturgical service. The sub-committee headed by Fr. Eligio Suico is in charge with the home stay preparation for the accommodations of those delegates who cannot afford hotels or those who choose to immerse with the families in Cebu.

Archbishop of Cebu Jose Palma (center) with Msgr. Ruben Labajo, Pilgrim Committee Head and volunteer families for Home Stay
The Home Stay Committee is still open to welcoming host families who want to volunteer and open their homes to the delegates who have no other place to stay. “2,000 delegates out of 15,000 will be accommodated free of charge through home stay, and we are hoping that more families will open their doors and accept local or foreign delegates,” added Fr. Labajo.
Local parishes in Cebu and Mandaue City have been delegated with the tasks of accepting volunteer host families who are willing to provide a place to stay for the delegates.
“Bear it in mind that in the gospel, Jesus will judge each one of us and ask us what we have done for him. Jesus said, ‘Whatever you do to the least of your brethren, you do it unto me… I was naked, and you clothed me, I was homeless, and you gave me shelter, I was thirsty, and you gave me water.’ So at this time, let us welcome Jesus in the person of the delegates and through these delegates. We are not actually welcoming only mere human beings or people who have no homes but we are welcoming Jesus Christ in our home and during the end of time, God is going to reward us.”

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