Vatican exec: Cebu a good choice-A A +A
Sunday, September 15, 2013
A VATICAN-based team member overseeing the preparations for the International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) in January 2016 said Cebu is an appropriate place to host an international gathering.
“Cebu is a good choice,” said Fr. Vittore Bocardi, Pontifical Committee for IEC executive secretary at yesterday’s news conference.
“There is no need of a rich town, or a town in the Western area,” he added, speaking in Italian and interpreted for the media by Fr. Luigi Kerschbamer, Order of Augustinian Discalced first chancellor.
Boccardi said what is needed in the preparations for the week-long event is a Christian community that is “ready and willing to receive pilgrims coming from all parts of the world.”
“We did everything to facilitate the visit of the Holy Father. Now, (what is left to do is) for the Holy Father to make his decision (whether to come to Cebu for the celebration or not),” he added.
Meanwhile, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama is against the move to convert Zamora St., located between Basilica del Sto. Niño and Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral into a food strip like those found in Bangkok, Thailand.
The project is being proposed by Fr. Tito Soquiño, head of the Augustinian Social Development Program, in preparation for the 450th commemoration of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines and the International Eucharistic Congress in 2016.
Yesterday, Archbishop Piero Marini, the Pontifical Permanent Committee for IEC president, explained that the IEC is held in different countries every four years.
He said usually the Pope comes for the last mass called the Statio Orbis or the “worldwide meeting or celebration presided by the Holy Father or one of his delegates.”
He said that it is the local church that unites all the churches in the world in honoring the Eucharist.
Marini, who also spoke in Italian, said that the Congress began at a time when Catholics were prohibited from joining political activities and holy communion was only given during very rare occasions.
“And the first result of the liturgical movement, was Pope Pius X permitting the frequent (receiving of) holy communion and to lower the age of receiving holy communion,” he said.
“The Eucharistic Congress is not only processions, but also of many children who will be receiving their first communion,” he added.
Marini said the heavy burden of the Eucharistic Congress would be carried by the Archbishop of Cebu, Jose Palma.
“Archbishop Palma has strong shoulders and is the head of the local committee,” he added.
In an interview after his seven-day trip to Taiwan, Rama said that while it is a good plan, Zamora St. is just too narrow to be converted into a food strip.
Rama also said that the operations in the area will be disrupted as it will be closed during the annual Sinulog celebration held every January.
“That’s a wrong place,” he said.
The mayor also said that the area is one of the few streets in the city where regulated vending is allowed by the City Government.
Asked for an alternative place where the project can possibly be implemented, Rama said he would still prefer holding night markets with food stalls on Colon St.
Soquiño had planned to beautify Zamora St. and convert it into a food strip like those in Bangkok.
Soquino had tapped the Movement for Livable Cebu (MLC), whose members include architects and engineers, for the project.
He also sought the help of the University of San Carlos College of Architecture and Fine Arts.
The MLC, for its part, had talked with Sto. Niño Barangay Captain Pancho Ramirez regarding the undertaking but it was not clear if it will push through, considering the stand of the mayor on the matter.
Palma, meanwhile, confirmed that the team has chosen to hold some of the activities, exhibits, food preparations and to open certain offices at the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC).
Another venue, which can hold some 12,000 to 13,000 people, is being considered but this is still under negotiation.
The country host of the IEC can look forward to numerous benefits that can be reaped from the celebration, said the 50th IEC Dublin General Manager Anne Griffin.
She said many young people and volunteers who were involved in the preparations continue to be active in the church.
The country can also benefit economically, with the numerous international visitors and souvenirs that will be sold.
Griffin said that many pilgrims will get to have the experience that they would leave the place with many stories and sharing of experiences.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 15, 2013.