“Ayoko na magsalita kasi sobrang busog na ako sa inspiration,” Diocese of Novaliches 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC 2016) Delegate Pamela Mendoza said as her voice started to crack and tears started to well from the corner of her eyes during an interview conducted last January 28, 2016 at the IEC Pavillion located in the San Carlos Seminary Complex, Cebu City. (“I don’t want to speak anymore as I am too satiated with inspiration.”)
A month after IEC 2016, Mendoza, a parishioner of San Isidro Labrador Parish in Villa Nova, Bgy. Capri Quezon City, still turned emotional when asked about the event in a follow-up interview conducted via Facebook’s Instant Messenger.
“Hay…still teary-eyed from the awesome experience,” she said referring to the series of lectures and talks she heard from day one of IEC 2016.
She emphasized that, for one who has undergone formation as a former Religious of the Virgin Mary (RVM) postulant, she was overwhelmed by the richness of information gained through IEC 2016. As such, she believed other attendees, especially those who had no prior formation, probably found the event as a truly nourishing spiritual delight.
She particularly found the talk of Diocese of Novaliches’ very own Rev. Fr. Luciano Ariel Felloni very compelling and described it as, “simple, madaling maintindihan pero may sundot–yung bang ‘himas-batok’ ang dating.” (“simple, easy to understand but pokes the heart–it actually gently caresses you first before hitting you with the message.”)
“All along I thought the good Lord will just invite you to go back to Him and wait for you to accept Him…kulang! I was wrong…the Lord will not just invite and wait for you but will walk with you even in the wrong path you’re in, just to win you back in His arms! That is how big His love for each of us,” Mendoza shared of her most important learning from IEC 2016.
She also cited the reality of the Eucharist in one’s daily life–a bread that needs to be broken so as to be shared–as another important lesson of IEC 2016, “Yes, only when you are broken–broken from selfishness, from sin, from hate–you can never share the LOVE, MERCY and COMPASSION Jesus has given freely.”
Mendoza was actually one of the 21 additional delegates sent by the Diocese of Novaliches through its Bishop, the Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, D.D., to the IEC 2016 after the Event’s Organizers gave free slots for the Diocese’s big contribution to the ”Piso Para Sa Misa Ng Mundo” Fund Raising Program. This is why the Bishop announced this during the Diocesan Theological Pastoral Congress last December 12, 2015 at the Shrine of St. Paul in Casa Milan, North Fairview, Q.C. Mendoza was providentially present when the Bishop made the announcement and was registered before the slots got filled up on the same day.
Asked what her hopes were for her co-IEC 2016 Delegates, Mendoza quickly remarked, “Sana masmaintindihan nila at maibaba nila na ‘the Eucharist being you and Christ’ sa kanilang parokya dahil it’s a deeper meaning of the Eucharist–else, sayang talaga ang time, money, and effort ng pagpunta (sa Cebu).” [“I hope they would better understand and actually cascade to their parishes of ‘the Eucharist being you and Christ’ because it’s a deeper meaning of the Eucharist–else it would be a waste of their time, money, and effort of attending (in Cebu).”]
A gathering of people meant to promote the centrality of the Eucharist in the life of a Christian, the 51st International Eucharistic Congress is the second time the event was hosted in the Philippines due to the efforts of the Most Rev. Jose Palma, Archbishop of Cebu. The event was reported by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Media Office to have broken Church records in its Media Coverage that was aired real-time throughout the globe, including live feed at Mainland China, opening doors for evangelization. (~Minnie De Luna)