Cebu International Eucharistic Congress to focus on evangelization of Asia

October 28, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

51st International Eucharistic Congress to be held in CebuVatican City, October 27, 2015: The 51st International Eucharistic Congress to be held in Cebu (Philippines) 24 to 31 January 2016, on the theme: “Christ in you the hope of glory”, will have a strong missionary character to “mirror the Asian Church, reflecting how the Catholic Church carries out the task of evangelization”, claimed Msgr. Jose S. Palma, Archbishop of Cebu, during the presentation of the event, at the Vatican today.

“In recent years – he continued – In recent years, Asia is the continent that has become one of the great engines of world growth in the economic and social point of view. From the religious point of view, however, it is still a continent that has to be evangelized; it is still a continent where the Catholic Church is a small minority; in spite of being the continent where Jesus was born, lived, died and rose again”.

Yet despite centuries of commitment to evangelization, underlined Archbishop Piero Marini, President of the Commission for International Eucharistic Congresses, apart from the exception of the Philippines, “Christianity Today, in Asia, is a tiny reality composed of minorities living and generous. If you consult the latest data of the Vatican Statistical Yearbook, it turns out that Asian Catholics are 134 million, ie 3% of the inhabitants of their continent, but 11% of the world’s Catholics. Pope Francis most recent trips involved those Asian countries with a higher than average number of Catholics, but Catholicism is growing elsewhere, especially in China, India  and Vietnam, this country where growth is exponential, because the 1.9 million Catholics in 1975 has reached 6.8 million today. ”

“The meeting in the Philippines – said Msgr. Marini – is particularly relevant in at least three respects. ” In addition to its historical mission, he indicated its geographical one connected to the recent evangelization of Asia.

The choice of the host city was a geographical one. Cebu “is somewhat in the heart of East Asia, little more than two hours by plane from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, and relatively close to South Korea, Japan, India and Australia. There those Christians who, because of the distances and costs, have often been excluded from major international events will especially converge. “

It is also “strictly tied to modern evangelization of Asia”, beyond the relatively small numbers, the Church in Asia must face the challenge of living and recognizing Christianity in historical forms that are different from those we are used to in the West.

Asia, in fact, has never experienced the dynamics – even political – inherited from the empire of Constantine or Charlemagne. Asia has never had a nation whose society defined itself as Christian. The social context in which the Church in Asia is inserted, is made of suburbs and frontiers, of tensions and conflicts of a religious, political and social nature.

In the last 40 years, the continent has been trying to forge its own identity often paying the price of a nationalistic spirit stirred by anti-Western sentiment. Globalization has led to a rapid process of modernization and change and is accompanied by phenomena of secularization while emergency situations are constantly created by the huge plagues of corruption, crime, exploitation of the weak. In addition, the diversity of the many cultures and national identities that form the continent originate from a variety of great religious traditions which today, more than yesterday, are a source of cynically exploited tensions and conflict “.

“But the most serious obstacle to the mission is still the fact that the Catholic Church, for its reliance on rules, funding and authority, continues to be considered associated with the West, and this poses difficulties for most Asians. The Church is often perceived as a foreign body with regards the religious-cultural structure of the Continent.

The Philippines is the only real exception in this panorama. The Christian religion was brought to the archipelago that stretches into the Pacific by the Spaniards and was grafted on the traditional cultures and religions, providing an example of inculturation that has been unmatched in all of Asia. Against this background it is understandable that in a population of over 100 million Catholics exceed 80% and the annual number of baptized persons that is greater than that of Italy, France, Spain and Poland combined. “

The text for the Congress, then, is a “program of dialogue with cultures, religious traditions and the multitudes of the poor.” “It explains how the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Church’s mission and identifies the added value offered by the celebration of the Eucharist for a mission that is committed to raising those enzymes of dialogue, of reconciliation, of peace and the future  for which Asia is thirsty. ”

“The Congress of Cebu towards which we are journeying – concluded Father Victor Boccardi, SSS, secretary of the Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses – invites us to consider the Eucharist as source and summit of the Church’s mission. The report underscores the Eucharist / Mission / New evangelization has found ample illustration in the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops of 2012 and in the Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium of Pope Francis. The missionary task of the present time has been distilled down to the now well-known expressions of ” outward bound Church ” and “peripheries” (See. Evangelii Gaudium, 20-24)”.

– asianews

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