Talisay City, Cebu, the Philippines, 24 January 2016 - By this time, someone who is immersed in the cyber sphere must already be familiar with "#EIC2016." This hashtag refers of course to the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) which is still to open today, January 24, but the Theological Symposium which traditionally precedes it, ended last Friday.
While someone not attending the congress could conveniently follow its live stream, or catch the gist of the talks of the speakers via the memes uploaded in the social media arms of the IEC, not to mention the quick posts of savvy members of the clergy and lay people in their social media accounts as regards what’s happening in the events. But what is not given emphasis are those which take place in the sidelines, which may also be equally interesting as those which have been scheduled as part of the program.
On the first day of the Symposium, when the floor was opened for the question and answer after the first plenary conference, two Salesians immediately dispatched questions one after the other. This prompted the facilitator to say, in jest perhaps, that the third one to ask the question should not be a Salesian.
There are Salesians in the congress, who are not just mere observers. Fr Francis Moloney, SDB is the second plenary speaker on the first day and another Salesian, Fr. Mel Racelis, FIS head of the Commission on Formation and a liturgy professor, was one of the reactors to the plenary talk of Bishop Piero Marini.
An all-Salesian team (Fr. Vicente Cervania, Fr. Vester Casaclang, and Fr. Jose Lorbeth Vivo) headed by Fr. Francis Gustilo, SDB was charged to run one of the afternoon workshops entitled “The Eucharist in the Church’s Dialogue with the Youth.” The workshop recommends the Salesian Youth Spirituality, which is meant to foster in the young people a life that goes beyond seeking what is pleasurable, a life that is full.
Meanwhile, last Thursday, January 21, a dinner was organized in the nearby Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, so that the Salesians attending the event could have some time together in an intimate, sit-up dinner. It was Fr. Moloney’s idea.
These all have taken place just before the 51st International Eucharistic Congress begins today, and as we await the coming of His Eminence Charles Cardinal Bo of Myamar who is the official representative of Pope Francis in this event. Cardinal Bo is also a Salesian of Don Bosco.