Eucharistic Congress: World leaders should be more like Pope Francis
Myanmar Cardinal declares war on poverty as Eucharistic Congress begins
The Pope’s envoy to the 51st International Eucharistic Congress taking place this week in the Philippines has said leaders should follow the example of Pope Francis who goes to the margins to connect with the poor, reports Catholic News Service.
Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, the head of around 450,000 Catholics in impoverished Myanmar, said he had met with “many Christian leaders” and leaders of other denominations who shared a deep respect for the Pope. "So if their churches as well as their governments and all the leaders in the world were to follow the example of Pope Francis, that could be a solution," said the Cardinal.
Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu, where the main celebrations are taking place, added: “We have seen images of the Holy Father really doing this ... Reaching out to the prisoners, to the poor. And expect, for instance, certain revisions in the Curia that would even manifest this love for people. Even the declaration of the Year of Mercy is also one way of making us aware that at the heart of Christianity should be the spirit of sharing love."
At the Congress, which was established to deepen understanding and devotion to the Eucharist among clergy and laity, Cardinal Bo said the "main message" that has repeatedly resonated with him is "the Eucharist being the sharing of our bread and sharing of our resources".
“We prepare missiles of charity and missiles of sharing,” said Cardinal Bo who, a day earlier, declared war on poverty. “There are many poor people, not because things are not sufficient, resources are not sufficient, not because food is not sufficient, but because of poor distribution.”
The Cardinal said the Church, all religions and the government should have a system under which resources are shared between the rich and the poor.
The Eucharistic Congress takes places every four years. The theme of this year’s gathering is hope. Local reports say 350,000 people attended the opening Mass on Sunday 24 January.
The opening keynote speech was given by English theologian and priest Fr Timothy Radcliff OP, with the title ‘The Christian Virtue of Hope’.
The Philippines, a devoutly Catholic country with 80 million Catholics, was visited by Pope Francis in 2015.
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