The 51st International Eucharistic Congress taking place from Jan. 24-31, in the central Philippine city of Cebu, has as its main theme, “The Eucharist as Mission”. Thousands of delegates and participants, among them the clergy, religious and lay people, are taking part in this event to promote the awareness of the central place of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Catholic Church.
Among several speakers invited to address the gathering is Indian Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil, the Apostolic Administrator of Diocese of Jowai in Meghalaya state of North-East India. He served as the bishop of Dibrugarh for 11 years and the Archbishop of Guwahati for 20 years before his retirement on January 18, 2012. But Pope Francis called him back from retirement in Feb. 2014 to serve as Apostolic Administrator to Jowai.
Archbishop Menamparampil, who is renowned in north-east India for his peace initiatives among warring ethnic and tribal groups, delivered a talk on Jan. 27 on "The Eucharist as Mission, Mission as Dialogue". Sean Patrick Lovett of Vatican Radio caught up with the 77-year old archbishop in the sidelines of the International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu to ask him about his talk. Sean told him that in a gathering like the Eucharistic Congress where participants are used to hearing interventions of spiritual, theological and intellectual nature, his talk on Eucharist as dialogue was something unusual and interesting. Archbishop Menamparampil explained why.