Eucharistic Congress highlights Cebuano faith, culture

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Thursday, August 14, 2014


CEBU CITY -- Aside from the strong faith of Cebuanos, the rich culture of Cebu province is also expected to capture the interest of delegates for the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC).

After 79 years, the Pontifical Committee in Vatican has chosen anew the Philippines to host the IEC in 2016, where at least 15,000 people are expected to join.

"Among other Asian countries, the Philippines was chosen because it is the biggest Catholic nation in Asia. But among Philippine cities, since Manila had already been a host, I think now it is the turn of Cebu, Cebu being the 'cradle of Christianity'," said Msgr. Dennis Villarojo, the secretary general of IEC 2016.

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"The faith here (Cebu) is vibrant," he added. Villarojo cited as an example the celebration of the feast day of Senyor Sto. Niño.

The IEC is a gathering of Catholics from all around the world. The celebration allows participants of different races to share their common faith in God.

The theme this year dubbed "Crist in You, our Hope of Glory" aims to instill the concept of hope amidst fighting in foreign nations.

Villarojo said the IEC is not exclusive for Catholics but to everyone who works for charity and evangelization.

Encouraging the Filipino youth to participate, Villarojo said the congress is "an opportunity to revitalize the faith of young people, especially to the Eucharist."

He said that through strengthening faith, the youth will be better educated on how to properly live their lives.

The monsignor added that they are open to the possibility that Pope Francis may attend the week-long celebration.

"We do prepare as if the pope is coming. We hope, but we have to be realistic. We do not dictate those matters," he said.

Preparation

Villarojo admitted that one of their challenges in hosting the huge event is getting funds for their logistics.

The Duros Development Corp. shouldered the construction of the IEC 2016 Pavillon, where most of the activities will be held, in exchange for the usage of a land that the Cebu Archdiocese owns.

"Piso Para Sa Misa ng Mundo" donation campaign tithe boxes were also placed in churches nationwide to support the event.

By September, the online registration on their website will be open to the public. Villarojo said they are yet to disclose the amount of the registration fee.

The IEC 2016, which will run from January 24 to 31, will kick off with an opening mass in Plaza Independencia.

Other activities include catechesis, penitential service, Visita Iglesia, and Gabii sa Kabilin, among others.


IEC 2016 tentative schedule by Sun.Star Philippine news

Initiated by a laywoman, Emilie Tamisier, the international congress started in Lille, France in 1881.

In 1937, Manila hosted the 33rd IEC, the first congress held in Asia. It was attended by an estimated 1.5 million people from all over the world. (Sunnex)

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