‘Western world has lost ability to connect’

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CEBU City (Jan. 29, 2016) – Belgian convert Marianne Servaas revealed how the west has become less human and has lost the zest for life, unlike Filipinos who are known for their positive outlook despite hardships.

“We no longer trust life. Our attitude is critical. We begin with theories and ideas before looking at life itself. We turn things upside down. We have lost the ability to relate,” Servaas said during the sixth and final press conference of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC).

Bishop Mylo Vergara and Archbishop Jose Palma lead the last press conference for the 51st IEC. (Photo by Sky Ortigas)

Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma lead the last press conference for the 51st International Eucharistic Congress. (Photo by Sky Ortigas)

Servaas said Filipinos are able to bring hope to others through their joy. “The Philippines has an incredible sense of joy rooting from humility. Even when things are hard, joy carries you through,” she said.

Servaas gave a powerful testimony on the second day of  the congress, revealing how the Eucharist helped her heal emotionally and spiritually. She was abused by her father, an evangelical pastor, from age 4 until she reached 16 years old.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, president of the 51st IEC, said it was possible the Philippines might lapse into the same culture. The challenge is to preserve the values already present in the country, which European countries can emulate, he said.

Other lay speakers in the congress were also present. Pastoral worker Ma. Georgia Cogtas, a former street child, suggested the conversion of unused spaces in parishes into venues for study and feeding activities for street children.

“Maybe the Church could make room for the poor by providing a space where the children can study and have meals, or utilize resources to provide them with books,” Cogtas said.

Thai author and entrepreneur Mary Sarindhorn, who will give her testimony on Jan. 30, told the media how she found faith after being accused of a crime she did not commit.

“During my suffering, I prayed to God day and night. He spoke to me that one day the truth will prevail. I finally was able to dig up the evidence that will prove my innocence. After that I found God to be my savior up to this day,” Sarindhorn said.

Capping the last press conference of IEC week, Communications Department Chairman Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara said the congress has achieved its goal of encouraging the faithful to foster humility, reach out to the poor and suffering, and have a devout prayer life.

“The prayer of the Eucharist should lead to action. We are to be the bread broken and shared to others,” Bishop Vergara said. – (CBCP News / Krystel Nicole A. Sevilla)

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