Organizers of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) in Cebu City said they had been more than prepared to host the event, which kicked off on Sunday.
According to Msgr. Joseph Tan of the IEC Committee, they are 125 percent ready to host the religious congress, which will end on January 31 in the “Queen City of the South.”
“Modesty aside, we are 125 percent ready. We are down to our last two percent of things that remain to be done … the nitty gritty,” he said in an article posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) news website.
Tan added, “We hope that we will make a very impressive opening day given the number of people expected to attend although we know there are many who registered for the second half of the congress.”
Thousands of participants from 71 different countries are expected to attend the week-long event.
Based on the IEC 2016 Calendar of Activities, an opening Mass at the Plaza Independencia launched the congress on Sunday at 4 p.m.. led by Archbishop Charles Maung Cardinal Bo, a Papal Legate to the IEC 2016.
Speakers during the event include CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas, Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo and Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle as well as Abuja Archbishop John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Bombay Archbishop Oswald Cardinal Gracias and New York Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan.
There is a scheduled “Parish Encounter” on January 27 for parishioners of San Roque-Subangdako; Gethsemane; Holy Family-Casuntingan; National Shrine of Saint Joseph in Mandaue City; Saint Joseph The Worker-Mabolo; Saint Therese of the Child Jesus-Lahug; Our Lady of the Sacred Heart-Capitol; Our Mother of Perpetual Help-Redemptorist; Santo Rosario-P. del Rosario; Sacred Heart-Jakosalem; Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral; Our Lady of Lourdes-Punta Prinsesa; San Roque-Mambaling; and Our Lady of Guadalupe-Guadalupe, Cebu City.
A Visita Iglesia, or visit to churches by the IEC 2016 delegates, is set on January 28 at the Asilo de la Milagrosa Chapel; Our Lady of the Sacred Heart-Capitol; Our Mother of Perpetual Help-Redemptorist; Santo Rosario-P. del Rosario; Sacred Heart-Jakosalem; Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral; and Basilica Minore del Santo Niῆo.
The IEC 2016 Youth Day is to be held on January 28 to 29 at the Hoops Dome in Lapu-Lapu City and at the Mandani Bay at the Mandaue City Reclamation Area.
On January 29, there will be a Mass at 4 p.m. at the Cebu Provincial Capitol grounds, which will be followed by the solemn procession from the grounds to Plaza Independencia.
The culminating Mass or the “Statio Orbis” will be held on January 31 at 4 p.m. at the South Road Properties with Cardinal Bo again presiding.
The IEC is an international gathering of people that aims to promote an awareness of the central place of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Catholic Church, help improve understanding and celebration of the liturgy and draw attention to the social dimension of the Eucharist.
This is the second time that the Philippines will be hosting the quadrennial event of the Catholic Church, the first one was in 1937 during the 33rd IEC, which was held in Manila during the pontificate of Pope Pius XI.