CEBU, Dec. 15, 2014 — In an event described by Archbishop Jose S. Palma, Archbishop of Cebu, as “coming of the Lord in a special way,” a mother of 7 children had her First Communion in Cebu together with two of her kids on the second Sunday of Advent despite the strong winds and rain of typhoon Ruby.

Despite the danger of the typhoon, Merlyn Poblico was at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral together with 28 others who received the Body of Christ for the first time as part of the second batch of First Communicants organized by Fr. Carmelo O. Diola, chairman the Solidarity and Communion Committee of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC).

She also had her baptism last month.

Merlyn Poblico, a mother of 7, braved typhoon Ruby to have her First Holy Communion together with her two kids on the day the typhoon hit Cebu. (Photo: Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD)

From the original 58, the First Communicants dropped 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 sought shelter in evacuation areas.

“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,” Palma said in his homily.

The prelate stressed further, “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).”

Fr. Diola said, “As we prepare for the IEC 2016, we endeavor to make [the Eucharist] more relevant to all, especially to the poor.”

The priest also shared that the recipients of the Holy Communion underwent eight one-hour catechesis, conducted by the members and volunteers of the Solidarity and Communion Committee.

Interestingly, 3 of the children, though, came from affluent families – a statement of the rich people’s solidarity with the marginalized and the neglected sectors, especially during the Year of the Poor.

Most of the First Communicants came from the streets of Sitio Mahayahay, Carreta, Barangay Talamban, Fuente Osme?a 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. (Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD/CBCPNews)