The following text is prepared by John and Margaret Howard, who will represent the Diocese of Meath at the International Eucharistic Congress in The Philippines this month.

“Christ in you, our hope of glory” (Col 1:27) is the theme for IEC 2016. This is so appropriate for the people of The Philippines and indeed for all of us. This theme leads naturally from ‘communion with Christ and with each other’, the theme of IEC 2012 in Ireland.

The Philippines has had its fair share of suffering especially in recent times, for example a terrible earthquake and then Typhoon Yolanda 2013.  Despite all the suffering, the people are also carriers of hope. They are a smiling people filled with joy and hope.

The location of IEC 2016 is Cebu. Twenty six pilgrims from Ireland will travel on Thursday 21st January and leading this pilgrimage will be Most Rev Kevin Doran, Bishop of Elphin. We return on 2nd February 2016.

The programme includes

  • Opening Mass
  • Catechesis and testimonies each day
  • Workshop sessions and daily adoration
  • Encountering and interacting with people from all over the world as we share our Catholic faith.
  • Spending a day in a parish (Mother of Perpetual Help) listening/ faith sharing and meals with them.
  • Having a pilgrim’s lunch with street children and listening to their life stories.
  • Visiting 7 city churches
  • Eucharistic dialogue with poor and suffering
  • Meeting with Irish missionaries based in The Philippines (hopefully some from Meath diocese)
  • Eucharistic Procession to Plaza Independencia
  • The Sinulog, a Pageantry of faith to honour the Santo Nino
  • Statio Orbis at which one million plus people is expected.
  • Tour of the Island

We are sure that we will receive a lot more, spiritually, culturally and socially from our encounter with the people than we can ever offer them. If our presence among them for IEC 2016 gives them a little extra hope and joy, then our visit will be worthwhile. However it is our Eucharistic Lord who will fill us to overflowing with lasting hope, joy, peace and love that only He can give during what promises to be a Spirit-filled occasion in Cebu. Please join us in prayer while we are there.

You can follow IEC 2016 live on EWTN during the week of the International Eucharistic Congress.

We will carry the intentions of our family and everyone in the Diocese of Meath and raise them up to the Lord in our Eucharistic celebrations at IEC 2016. Hopefully all of us will become more aware of the central place of the Eucharist in our own lives and in the life and mission of the Catholic Church. We certainly value the great privilege of participating in IEC 2016 and appreciate it very much. And together let us cry out: ‘Christ in you, our hope of glory’