IMPRESSIVE progress has been made, but more work is needed in the next nine months for Cebu to get ready to host the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) in January, organizers said yesterday.

Archbishop Piero Marini, president of the Pontifical Committee for the International Eucharistic Congresses (PCIEC), said that while he is impressed by the amount of preparation that local organizers have done, there were still some aspects that needed to be fast-tracked.

They cited the registration process for delegates and information dissemination in other countries.

While admitting that there’s more work ahead, local organizers led by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma are confident that they can prepare everything before January next year.

In a press conference yesterday, Anne Griffin, general manager of the 50th IEC in Dublin, Ireland and one of the consultants for the 51st IEC, said the venues appear to be adequate, but the local parishes need to fast-track their own preparations.

Some parishes in Cebu will be used by the local organizers and will serve as touring areas for delegates next year.

“I think the Filipinos are different from the Italians and the South Americans because they wait for the last moment to prepare,” Archbishop Marini said.

But he said he admired how flexible the local organizers are in the preparations, as well as the fast pace of the construction of the Eucharistic Pavilion in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City.

In a separate interview, Archbishop Palma said that the local organizers are taking into account everything that Archbishop Marini observed, including the need to fast-track the online registration of delegates and information dissemination in other parts of the country.

Palma said he was contented that the delegates were pleased by the preparations so far.

But with more than half a year left before the event itself, Palma said the local organizers hope to correct some things that the international organizers have pointed out.

For today, the committee will visit the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) to witness a dance performance by the inmates.

Jail warden Romeo Manansala confirmed that the delegates will be there to watch the show at 2 p.m.

Two weeks ago, Archbishop Palma sent a letter asking the CPDRC official if the PCIEC can watch the dancing inmates perform.

Consultant on jail matters Marco Toral said that around 800 inmates will perform today, and one of their numbers will feature the theme song for the IEC 2016.

In a separate interview, Manansala told Sun.Star Cebu a church representative arrived last Wednesday to confirm the visit.

“We welcome them with warm hearts. Nganong dili? (Why should we decline?),” the jail warden said.

Aside from the IEC theme, Manansala said that the inmates will also perform a dance number which they will offer to Pope Francis.

They will have five dance performances.

Manansala said the inmates were very excited about their dance show today.

“Lipay. Kaingon ta nga sikat gyud tingali ta (We are very happy. This makes us believe that the CPDRC dancing inmates are really famous),” Manansala said.