HOPES for a papal visit to Cebu were raised after the Cebu Archdiocese received a message from the Vatican last Thursday requesting to move the date of an international event here.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma told reporters he received a fax message from the President of the Pontifical Committee on the International Eucharistic Congress Msgr. Piero Marini last Thursday about this.
“There was a request for a change of schedule to make the Philippine visit a priority,” he said.
Palma said the request was to move the Congress to January because the scheduled dates in May are close to another international event, the World Youth day.
“Our original schedule was really January, we will schedule it around January 25,” he said.
“We will write back, we’re okay with January,” said Palma.
The Congress is held every four years and is attended by cardinals, archbishops, priests, nuns and lay people.
The event is a celebration and promotion of the Eucharist, an important church doctrine, through masses and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
The last time the country hosted the event was in Manila in 1937 during the pontificate of Pope Pius XI. It was the first congress to be held in Asia.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI announced that the 51st International Eucharistic Congress in 2016 would be held in Cebu City in his final message that was broadcasted in June last year in Dublin, Ireland.
Palma, who is also Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president, said the event may be held in a five-star hotel in Cebu City with some sessions conducted through teleconferences.
The church officials are still looking for a big venue to accommodate the delegates to the international event.
“Actually, I personally asked the Pope during my visit last month. Pero may pagka joker si Pope,” he added.
“We conversed in Spanish, his answer in Spanish when translated would be ‘Sige, kung buhi pako (Ok, If I am still alive),’” he said.
Palma was in Rome, Italy last month to attend the meetings with other bishops to organize the Congress.