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

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

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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