Follow example of Pope Francis, church leaders say at eucharistic congress
IMAGE: CNS photo/Jay Rommel Labra, EPA
By Simone Orendain
CEBU, Philippines (CNS) — Two Asian church leaders urged participants in the 51st International Eucharistic Congress to follow the example of Pope Francis, working to reach people on the periphery.
The pope’s envoy to the congress, Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon, Myanmar, told reporters Jan. 27 that the Eucharist should compel people to share with the less fortunate. He said that was why he declared a third world war on poverty days before, while celebrating the opening Mass for the Jan. 24-31 congress.
“We prepare missiles of charity and missiles of sharing,” said the cardinal. “There are many poor people, not because things are not sufficient, resources are not sufficient, not because food is not sufficient, but because of poor distribution.”
Cardinal Bo said the church, all religions and the government should have a system under which resources are shared between the rich and the poor.
At the congress aimed at deepening the understanding of the Eucharist, Cardinal Bo said the “main message” that has repeatedly resonated with him is “the Eucharist being the sharing of our bread and sharing of our resources.”
Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu added, “We have seen images of the Holy Father really doing this … Reaching out to the prisoners, to the poor. And expect, for instance, certain revisions in the Curia that would even manifest this love for people. Even the declaration of the Year of Mercy is also one way of making us aware that at the heart of Christianity should be the spirit of sharing love.”
Cardinal Bo added that in meetings with “many Christian leaders” of other denominations and also leaders of other religions, they have told him that in the world there is no other leader like Pope Francis.
“So if their churches as well as their governments and all the leaders in the world were to follow the example of Pope Francis, that could be a solution: going to the peripheries,” said the cardinal.
During the briefing, Cardinal Bo also said his country has only 800,000 Catholics, even though the faith has been there for 500 years. He said the Philippine church has been helping Myanmar’s Catholics in communication efforts for evangelization.
He also said in his report to the pope after the Congress, he would remember “the warmest welcome I have received, second, the good Filipino food and, third, the Filipino smiles.”
Cardinal Bo said the main message would be, “in spite of all the natural disasters, the only thing that remains mainly with the Filipinos is the faith of the people: faith in the church, faith in the Eucharist and their faith in the Lord.”
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