In an event described by Archbishop Jose S. Palma, Archbishop of Cebu, as “coming of the Lord in a special way,” Merlyn Poblico, a mother of 7 children, had her first communion together with her two children last second Sunday of Advent at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral despite the danger of typhoon. Merlyn was among the 28 who received the Body of Christ for the first time as part of the second batch of First Communicants organized by Rev. Fr. Carmelo O. Diola, chairman the Solidarity and Communion Committee of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC). She also had her baptism last month.
Most of the First Communicants came from the streets of Sitio Mahayahay, Carreta, Barangay Talamban, Fuente Osmeňa and Barangay Luz. Three organizations gathered them together: the Most Holy Name of Jesus Missionaries, the SOS Children’s Village, and the Dilaab Foundation Inc. According to Fr. Diola: “As we prepare for the IEC 2016, we endeavor to make it more relevant to all especially to the poor.” The good Father also shared that the recipients of the Holy Communion underwent eight one-hour catechesis conducted by the members and volunteers of the said Committee.
Interestingly, 3 of the children, though, came from the affluent families – a statement of the rich people’s solidarity with the marginalized and the neglected sectors for the Year of the Poor. From the original 58, the First Communicants dropped down to 28, due to typhoon Ruby that also hit the province that day. The other 30 could not make it because they left their homes and secured themselves at the evacuation areas.
Archbishop Palma said in his homily that “Pabilin ta sa grasya ni Kristo! (Let us remain in the grace of Christ!) As we receive Christ, we continue to trust in God, for it is in this way that He comes to us. Ang Eukaristiya tuburan sa atong paningkamot, pagsangyaw ug pagtukod sa iyang gingharian (The Eucharist is the source of our efforts, preaching and the establishment of His kingdom).