By Jose Maria Bonifacio Escoda
The 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) was held last January 24-31, 2016 in Cebu. This was the second time Philippines hosted the said event.
2. The 33rd IEC was held in Burnham Park which is now Luneta Park.
3. The 33rd IEC is the first ever international Eucharistic event held in Asia as well as it was the very first international event held in the Philippines.
4. It was during the 33rd IEC that the first commercial airfield in the Philippines was used, the Manila Port Terminal which became Nielsen Field which ultimately became the Ayala Avenue and Paseo de Roxas in Makati.
5. The song, “No Más Amor Que el Tuyo” (Walang Hihigit pang Pagmamahal ng tulad sa Iyo) is the theme song sang during the Blessed Sacrament Exposition. It was written by Manuel Bernabe, one of the leading Filipino writers in Spanish.
6. In the 33rd IEC thousands of young children had their first communion. In 51st IEC there were five thousand first communicants.
7. Aluminum medals with yellow ribbons were given away to the participants. Engraved in Latin was the theme of the 33rd IEC “Predicate Evangelium Omni Creatura,” which means PREACH THE GOSPEL TO ALL CREATIONS.
8. Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales was only first years old during the 33rd IEC.
9. One of the distinguished Filipinos who participated in the event is Josefa Llanes Escoda together with her children, Bing and Tony. Escoda is the founder of the Girl Scout of the Philippines.
10. Amidst the 33rd IEC in 1937, Adolf Hitler started his war campaign in Europe in 1936 while Spain broke out into civil war with a total of 11 thousand priests, nuns, seminarians and 13 bishops killed.
11. While war loomed abroad, the Philippines was blessed with a visit from the Lord Jesus Christ. In the spiritual diary of St. Faustina Kowalska (1905-38), “Divine Mercy in My Soul,” the Lord said He would go to a Eucharistic gathering. This was confirmed by the research index of the Marian Fathers in Stockbridge Massachusetts that Eucharistic event mentioned by the Lord is no other than the 33rd IEC in Manila.
12. The Pope of the 33rd IEC is Pope Pius XI, the papal representative is Dennis Joseph Cardinal Doherty, an American while the Bishop of Manila is Archbishop Michael O’Doherty ,an Irish American.
13. In 1942 Manila fell into the hands of the Japanese. At exactly eight years after the 33rd IEC the Americans took back the city from the enemies on the days of the 33rd IEC, February 3-7, 1945. A lot of people believed that was a sign of Divine preference on the Filipino people who hosted the 33rd IEC.