The 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) will kick off in Cebu on January 24-31, 2016 but a theological symposium was already set this Wednesday to prepare the atmosphere for the said global religious event. At 9:30 am, Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, OP talked about “The Christian Virtue of Hope” during the first plenary. At 11 am, Fr. Francis Moloney, SDB centered his talk on “He Love Them to the End: Eucharist in the Gospel of John” for the second plenary.
The symposium was held at the Cebu Doctor’s University in Mandaue City. Priests, sisters, seminarians and lay faithful counting around two thousand went to hear the speakers. A workshop was set and a Eucharistic celebration culminated the Day 1 activities.
On Thursday and Friday, another set of speakers will preside over the theological conferences. In an interview later, the Archbishop of Cebu, Msgr Jose S. Palma, encouraged more prayers for the Congress, “Unta padayon kita nga mag-ampo nga malinawon kining pagsaulog sa Eucharistic Congress ug sa atong pagpaminaw, makapamalandong kita sa gugma sa Dios labi na sa pagpadala sa iyang anak nga si Kristo ug sa gibuhat ni Kristo alang natong tanan nga atong gisaulog sa Santos nga Misa.” (I hope that we continue to pray for the peaceful celebration of the International Eucharistic Congress and as we listen, we also reflect on the love of God especially in sending His son Jesus, and what Jesus did for all of us, which we always celebrate in the Holy Eucharist.”
The theme of the IEC 2016 is “Christ in You, Our Hope of Glory.” (Col. 1:27). The 33rd IEC on 1937 was held in Manila, the first for the country and has returned only in the Philippine shores after 79 years. Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, now 84 and the Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu, was among the first communicants.