THE poor have not lost hope despite the daily hardship and sufferings they face, according to Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma yesterday.
In an interview with ANC broadcaster Tina Monzon-Palma at the IEC Pavilion, Palma said their message to the flock is that they are loved by God and whatever talents they have must be used in the service of the community.
Palma said Filipinos are interested in reading the Bible and in knowing the words of God. He hopes this will translate into action.
“We really pray that when people come and participate in the IEC (International Eucharistic Congress), first of all, there will be renewed appreciation of the Eucharist,” he said.
He said that when Spaniards came to the country, the first thing they did was to celebrate the mass. That was on March 16, 1521.
He added that when the Augustinian missionaries came in 1565 and they discovered the image of St. Nino, it started a joyful devotion to the Child Jesus.
When asked if it’s important how priests actually conduct the celebration of the Eucharist, Palma said he believes priests must be truly conversant of it and must be good interpreters of the Gospel.
“There are testimonies of other people and we want to listen to them because they may have a different experience of faith. Even the sharing of other people will let us understand their own faith,” Palma said.
He said one of the challenges priests now face is reaching out to people, especially the youth and the elderly.
“A part of the IEC is gathering young people to address their concerns and guide them to live in the fullness of life,” he said.
Palma said the Catholic hierarchy wants the people to be aware of the importance of the Bible, of the mass, of the devotion to the Virgin Mary, of attending to their needs, both spiritual and pastoral, and even economic needs to some extent.
“We try to be their father in our own little way so people will be encouraged to remain with their faith to God,” Palma said.