Philippines to hold online Eucharistic meeting as pandemic prevents travel to Budapest

Hannah Brockhaus   By Hannah Brockhaus for CNA

Our Lady of the Pillar Parish Church in Manila, Philippines, is the archdiocesan Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament. / Fmgverzon via Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0

Rome Newsroom, Aug 13, 2021 / 09:00 am (CNA).

While pandemic restrictions will prevent Catholics in the Philippines from traveling to the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest next month, the country’s bishops have organized their own online celebration of the Eucharist.

The Philippines bishops had intended to send a delegation of 500 Catholics to the Sept. 5-12 congress in Hungary, as part of celebrations marking 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines.

The bishops of the southeast Asian country had to scrap that plan due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. They announced earlier this month that they will instead hold a national Eucharistic congress online in solidarity with the Budapest meeting.

The national event will be held in Our Lady of the Pillar Parish Church, also known as Santa Cruz Church, in Manila on Sept. 11. The church is the Archdiocese of Manila’s Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament.

“Santa Cruz Church will be the center of the activity but all the talks will be pre-recorded and will be broadcast online,” the executive secretary of the bishops’ committee on international Eucharistic congresses told CBCP News.

Fr. Miguel Garcia said more details about the Philippines Eucharistic Congress will be announced in the coming weeks, according to the news arm of the Philippines bishops.

Pope Francis will travel to Hungary to celebrate the closing Mass of the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest on Sept. 12.

The week-long congress was postponed from its original dates in September 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The international Catholic event, which began in France in 1881, typically takes place every four years, and is hosted by different countries around the world.

The Philippines hosted the last Eucharistic meeting in the city of Cebu in 2016. An estimated one million people took part in the closing Mass, and 12,000 people attended the week’s other events.

The 52nd International Eucharistic Congress will open on Sept. 5 with a 1,000-strong choir and a “vast” number of First Communions.

The event’s program lists cardinals from five continents as leaders of the congress’ morning prayers, catechesis, testimonies, and workshops.

Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu, Philippines, is planning to attend the global Eucharistic event. It is a tradition for a bishop from the congress’ previous host country to celebrate a Mass during the week.

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