Volunteers from different IEC Committees and partners gathered at the IEC Pavilion in Cebu City, Philippines to give thanks to the Lord for the huge success of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress last January 24 to 31, 2016.
The celebration began with a Thanksgiving mass presided by His Excellency, Archdiocese of Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma with IEC 2016 Secretary General Bishop Dennis Villarojo and the Committee Heads.
Archbishop Palma’s homily spoke about the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus was tempted in the wilderness in relation to the observance of the Lenten Season in the Philippines.
He explained that like Jesus, we too are tempted by the devil and so we must learn to resist him by having a solid faith in Christ.
Towards the end of the mass, Villarojo also announced messages of gratitude coming from the delegates and the Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses including letters from Barbara Dowding, Vice Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Vancouver and Msgr. Richard Kayondo from the Uganda Bishops’ Conference.
According to Dowding, “The challenges (of the IEC) were enormous and the crowds unbelievable, but your committee (the 51st IEC) did everything right. People are still talking about how great it was.”
“It was a real faith uplifting encounter. On behalf of the Uganda Bishop’s Conference, the team with which we made Pilgrimage to Cebu and on my own behalf, we appreciate the reception and the care during the time of the Congress. It was excellent. The people were very good; the families very cordial and the sharing, very enriching,” said Msgr. Kayondo.
After the mass, the different committees shared dinner and a short program was presented.
51st IEC Official Hymn composer Sem. Jay-arr Librando sang his new composition called “Hinungdan Ko” a song about one’s love for Senyor Santo Nino (the Child Jesus) and IEC’s hymn that centered on the 51st IEC theme: “Christ in You, Our Hope of Glory”.
Jayson Adolfo Jaluag, the designer of the 51st IEC official logo was also recognized on stage along with the venue preparations and government agency partners that gave their support throughout the Congress like the Cebu City Police Office of Police Regional Office 7, Duros Land Development Corporation, Office of Civil Defense Region 7, Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command, University of San Carlos, Cebu Provincial Capitol and the Sinulog Foundation among others.
The volunteers also watched special films shot during the Congress itself and ended the celebration with a group photo with the organizers.