(IEC Media Relations chief Msgr. Joseph Tan explains further details of the congress in a press briefing earlier today. Photo by Angeli Mae S. Cantillana)

January 25, 2016, 2:07p.m. – CEBU CITY – THE 51ST INTERNATIONAL  Eucharist Congress (IEC) should not be turned into a political event, Church leaders said.

In a press briefing Sunday, IEC Media Relations chief Msgr. Joseph Tan said organizers won’t allow the congress to be used as a platform for election campaigning and other forms of advertising.

The international congress, which will have 12,000 pilgrims, will be an open event for the public, and candidates running in the national elections are also expected to attend, he said.

“Although the IEC is open to everybody, we wanted to make sure that it will not turn into some kind of a political event. We expect that probably some of the people running for office will eventually be present.  But they will be treated like others, as pilgrims,” Tan said in the press conference at the IEC Pavillion in the seminary compound of the Archdiocese of Cebu.

Also present during the briefing was IEC Communications Department Chairman Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara, who reiterated the congress’ focus on hope and mission and strengthening the Church’s Eucharistic devotion.

“It’s good to know that theme is ‘Christ in You, Our Hope of Glory.’ We look at the Eucharist as the source and goal of the mission,” Vergara said.

The IEC will formally open with a Eucharistic Celebration at the Plaza Independencia, to be led by Yangon Archbishop Charles Maung Cardinal Bo, who serves as papal legate.

The congress runs from Jan. 24 to Jan. 31 and features daily Masses, catechetical talks, testimonies, and cultural activities. Lea Mat P. Vicencio


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