By Fr. Joselito Jopson

IEC

photo courtesy of IEC2016SocialMedia

PAVILION, CEBU CITY, Jan. 24, 2016 – The Communications Team for the 51st International Eucharistic Congress briefed the members of Media covering the International event scheduled to open with a Holy Mass at the Plaza Independencia at 4 o’clock in the afternoon.

Head of the Communication Team Bishop Mylo Vergara recalled the first IEC in the Philippines held last 1937.

“It was in 1937 that the International Eucharistic Congress first
happened.  A highlight of this event was that His Eminence Cardinal Ricardo Vidal received his first communion.”

The bishop explained the theme of the 51st IEC, “Christ in us, our Hope of Glory.”

Bishop Mylo said, “The theme focuses on hope and mission.  The Eucharist’s goal is mission. We are going to hear many issues about the Eucharist and the place of mission given our own Catholic identity.”

As of last Wednesday Jan. 20, Secretary General of the IEC Bishop Dennis Villarojo reported that there are 12,000 delegates representing 72 countries already registered with 800 media persons covering this event.

According to the local Police Superintendent, Gen. Manny Gaerlan, security has been provided by the government and local government of Cebu composed of the police and the army.  “We have deployed security forces as well as medical teams in the areas covering the events.”

Bishop Mylo acknowledged the IEC as a spill over of the Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines held more than a year ago today.

“Let us expect that announcements will be made, whether it be a live or taped feed, regarding the message of the Holy Father.  Let us be surprised by Pope Francis who will speak to us,” Bishop Mylo explained.

For the opening mass, the organizers are anticipating that the whole place will be crowded.

Gen. Gaerlan appealed to the people to come early for the masses on the first and last days.

“There are security checks.  We are expecting one million on the final day and we need at least four hours for inspection.  Please go there earlier than an hour so we will not clog up the inspection rows,” instructed Gen. Gaerlan.

Bishop Vergara also oriented the public about the Papal Legate, Archbishop of Yangon, His Eminence, Charles Cardinal Bo.

“He is down to earth.  Expect an Asian bishop who will be one with us.  He will truly be the representative of the Pope,” said Bishop Mylo.

Central committee member Fr. Mike Garcia, SSS justified the choice of Cebu as the venue for the 51st International Eucharistic Congress.

“Cebu is the center of evangelization.  Cebu is part of the nine-year preparation of the Philippine Catholic Church to celebrate five hundred years of evangelization in the Philippines,” explained Fr. Mike.

Bishop Mylo concluded the presscon with the acronym HOPE: “H- let this be a happy congress; O – let it be an overwhelming experience of God’s love; P – let it be a personal counter with Jesus; and E – let it be an experience of renewal.” /CBCPECSC

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