Around 12,000 local and international delegates will attend to the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC), which will run from Jan. 24 to 31 in Cebu City. It will be the second time in the Philippines. In 1952, the event was held in Manila.
As Pope Francis said on his address to the coming IEC on last September: ” The theme chosen for the upcoming International Eucharistic Congress is highly significant: “Christ in you, our hope of glory” (Col 1:27). It sets in full light the bond between the Eucharist, mission and Christian hope. Today there is a lack of hope in the world, that is why humanity needs to hear the message of our hope in Jesus Christ. The Church proclaims this message with renewed ardour, utilizing new methods and new expressions. With the spirit of the “new evangelization”, the Church brings this message to all people and, in a special way, to those who, despite having been baptized, are far from the Church and live without reference to Christian life”.
In preparation to the Congress the second day for the IEC Theological Symposium opened with a morning prayer followed by a lecture of Fr. Mark Francis regarding Liturgical Inculturation.
As Pope Francis himself have been calling for decentralization of the Catholic Church and Liturgical Inculturation, Rev. Fr. Mark Francis explained that as dialogue is a continuous process there is a constant need for liturgical inculturation to keep up with the changing times and different cultures around the world.
As reactors, Rev. Fr. Daniel Franklin Pilario and Rev. Fr. Amelito D. Racelis SDB brought into light the controversy regarding the inaction of the Roman Curia regarding the “Misa ng Bayang Pilipino” (Mass of the Filipino People) liturgical rites which was submitted to them for approval, the Philippine Churches despite being at a standstill as they wait for Rome’s approval have been using “Misa ng Bayang Pilipino” for special occasions because the need of Liturgical Incorporation is very much called for.
But as was brought up by a listener of the lecture during the open forum was the fact that the biggest problem and contradiction regarding constant liturgical incorporation and decentralization of the Roman Catholic Church is the issue of preservation of tradition versus the development and progress using liturgical incorporation.
This was followed with a lecture by Most Rev. Piero Marini, long time papal liturgist and master of ceremonies, who gave his talk in Italian. In his lecture entitled, “A History of the Novus Ordo” (History of the New Order of the Mass). During his lecture he discussed that under the Spirit of the Council, the Roman Rite that is now widely used in the Church becomes the basis for dialogue with cultures as regards liturgy. Archbishop Marini says “From my experience… it was sufficient to incorporate a few elements of local culture (music, song, local language, local vestments, physical gestures) into the papal celebration of the Roman rite for the congregation to see it as something properly theirs.
He cautions however and continued that, “Whenever cultural elements are inserted in liturgical celebrations held outside the milieu. There is always the danger of an exploitation.