A YEAR after the 51st International Eucharistic Congress, the Archdiocese of Cebu has yet to make good its promises, including the construction of a house for poor children.
But even if that’s the case, church officials said the 51st IEC has created a lasting effect on the Cebuanos.
Fr. Carmelo Diola, chairman of the 51st IEC committee on solidarity and communion, said the Italian Bishops Conference has yet to give the funds for the construction of the “Abtanan sa Kalooy.”
The Abtanan will be constructed in a vacant lot at the St. Joseph the Patriarch Parish in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City.
Diola said the Abtanan will cater to poor kids within the Mabolo area. It will have a mess hall, bathing amenities, a learning center and a skills training center for indigents. The Abtanan will also serve as a three-
day temporary home for children who are involved in difficult situations.
Diola said they are working with the Department of Social Welfare and Development 7 in coming up with the programs and guidelines for the Abtanan.
The Abtanan is also a hub for parishes in Cebu, where they can learn to create their own programs for poor children in their areas.
“It is a hub for accomplishing our vision that for every parish, there is an oasis of mercy for those living in the streets,” Diola said.
Diola said they hope to start construction in June this year if the funds will arrive.
The 51st IEC is also starting to show other results.
Bishop Dennis Villarojo of the Archdiocese of Cebu, who served as secretary-general of the 51st IEC, told SunStar Cebu that the Church in Cebu inspired other communities outside the country to strengthen their faith amid issues of secularism and disinterest toward Catholicism.
Quoting Archbishop Piero Marini in his report to Pope Francis, Villarojo said the Church in Cebu has a “Eucharistic physiognomy” where everyone in the community is culturally centered in the Eucharist.
Villarojo attributed the success of the 51st IEC to the Archdiocese’s program that introduces a pastoral thrust every year.
“The whole experience showed (the delegates) what it is to be a community. The volunteerism and the sense of bayanihan was very formative,” Villarojo said.
It also provided structural benefits for the Archdiocese of Cebu, including the establishment of the IEC Convention Center, formerly known as the IEC Pavilion, and the facelifting of the seminary properties.
The IEC Convention Center, also known as IC3, is currently managed by Regent Property International, which is connected to Duros Construction Inc. Duros Construction constructed the Pavilion.
Llydwena Eco, chief executive officer of Regent Property International, said since they formally took over management of IC3 last October and they have worked to make it the premier convention venue in Cebu.
Eco said that as of yesterday, much of the IC3’s three major halls has been booked for various events. Eco said IC3’s rentals are much cheaper compared to bigger venues like the World Trade Center in Manila.
IC3 has three convention halls and one function hall. Hall A, which can accommodate 3,000 people, costs P20,000 per hour.
Their biggest venue, Hall B, which can accommodate 5,000 people, costs P25,000 per hour. Hall C, which can accommodate 2,000 people, costs P15,000 per hour.
Even though the Archdiocese has leased the property to Duros for 25 years, the firm still pays a fixed rent to the Archdiocese and a percentage of their sales for the use of IC3.
Aside from IC3, the Archdiocese has allowed to have some of the seminary properties leased, resulting in the establishment of 23 Minore Park, a commercial development under Duros.