Vatican to inspect Cebu; Pope’s visit still uncertain-A A +A
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
VATICAN officials will be in Cebu next week to inspect possible venues for activities related to the 51st International Eucharistic Congress in 2016, said Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma.
Palma said that although it is not sure if Pope Francis would attend, preparations are done with the premise that the pontiff would be present during the concluding activity of the eight-day congress in January 2016.
He said only the Holy See or the papal office can confirm Pope Francis’ attendance.
The 2016 eucharistic congress, whose celebration will be based on the theme, “Christ in You, our Hope of Glory,” will be held at the templete or outdoor altar at the South Road Properties (SRP), which was used for the national thanksgiving mass for the canonization of San Pedro Calungsod.
A similar event was done in 1937 in the Luneta Park in Manila.
Palma said Archbishop Piero Marini, president of the pontifical committee for international eucharistic congresses, and two other officials from Vatican City in Italy, will be in Cebu starting Sept. 10 to inspect churches, hotels, the SRP, procession routes, places for pilgrimage and other areas of interest.
Palma said over his morning program over the Cebu Catholic Television Network (CCTN) yesterday that Marini will also attend meetings with theologians and the working committees of the international event.
“Gipadala na ang formal request (A formal request has been made),” he said, adding that the pope’s attendance would likely depend on his health.
The eucharistic congress will be held from Jan. 25 to 31 next year. It was originally set in May of the same year, but was moved earlier upon the request of the Vatican, prompting talks that Pope Francis would attend the event.
Margie Matheu, a member of the Secretariat for the preparations committee, said the biggest challenge is the venue because they could not find a place that would hold 15,000 people for a Cathechetical conference.
The next major challenge is accommodation for delegates because they only identified 4,000 rooms in Cebu City, she said.
These concerns are part of the briefing kit distributed to the members of the preparations committee.
There are two parts of the international gathering, said Matheu.
The International theological Symposium will be from Jan. 20 to 23, and would be attended by 1,000 delegates. The International Eucharistic Congress proper is set on Jan. 24 to 31, 2016.
Palma oversees the national committee overseeing the preparations for the event.
A website would be set up by the Archdiocese of Cebu to provide updates on the event.
Preparations for the congress include finding translators and facilitating visa requirements when needed.
In a separate interview, Fr. Brian Brigoli said the templete would need minor repairs.
Brigoli, who was a member of the committee on venue for the San Pedro Calungsod national thanksgiving mass, said they will prepare the templete even if the Pope’s presence is not certain.
Meanwhile, CCTN president Dodong Limchua announced that they will increase their power to be able to expand coverage to Luzon and Mindanao.
He said CCTN will broadcast with additional 30,000 watts this month and another 100,000 watts by December.
Dennis Tabar, CCTN news director, said the station bought additional equipment for about P3 million and will be hiring more reporters.
The reformat of the news and public affairs program of CCTN is part of preparations for the International Eucharistic Congress, said lawyer Divine Marcial-Flores.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 03, 2013.