(Pasig Bishop Mylo Vergara, IEC Communications Department chairman, explains the basic details of the congress in a press briefing today. Photo by Angeli Mae S. Cantillana)

January 24, 2016, 1:53p.m. – CEBU CITY – THE ARCHDIOCESE of Cebu is all set to hold the 51st installment of the International Eucharistic Congress (IEC), which the country last hosted 79 years ago.

In a press briefing held this morning at the IEC Pavilion, Pasig Bishop Mylo Vergara, IEC Communications Department chairman, said Cebu City would host 12,000 pilgrims, including 1,500 international delegates from 72 countries.

The event, which will run until Jan. 31, will officially commence this afternoon with a Eucharistic celebration at the Plaza Independencia to be led by papal legate Charles Maung Cardinal Bo, archbishop of Yangon in Myanmar.

The IEC, which Vergara described as a “spillover of grace” from last year’s papal visit , will give “HOPE” to the faithful, he said.

“What can we expect [in the Congress?] HOPE. Happy congress, overwhelming experience of God’s love, personal encounter with the Lord, and expect the Eucharist to renew us,” Vergara said.

Although the event is organized by the Catholic Church, Vergara clarified that people from other religious denominations won’t be excluded.

“There are talks that will dwell on the dialogue with other religions,” the Pasig prelate said.

Top clerics are expected to take part in the “Misa ng Mundo” on Jan. 31, including Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle and Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, Peter Cardinal Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Abuja Archbishop John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Mumbai Archbishop Oswald Cardinal Gracias, and New York Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan.

Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, O.P., former master of the Order of Preachers, and Bishop Robert Barron are also tasked to lead catechism sessions.

Most of the talks will be held at the newly built IEC Pavilion. Some liturgical celebrations will be open to the public.

The congress proper was preceded by a theological symposium held at Cebu Doctors’ University from Jan. 20 to 22. The symposium coincided with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ 112th Plenary Assembly.

This will be the second time for the Philippines to host the IEC, which is held every four years. The last time was in 1937 in Manila during the pontificate of Pope Pius IX. Angeli Mae S. Cantillana


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