MESSAGE IN A CAPSULE. Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma (2nd from right) and Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal (center) lead the groundbreaking of the Eucharistic Pavillon. Also in photo are retired Bishop Antonio Ranola, Evira Go, promotions committee head for the IEC 2016, Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama. (CDN PHOTO/ JUNJIE MENDOZA)
The construction of the Eucharistic Pavilion – Cebu’s newest landmark – which will serve as the venue for the 2016 International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) will start next month.
Officials of the Archdiocese of Cebu as well as local government leaders yesterday gathered for the groundbreaking ceremony in an open field inside the archdiocesan seminary in barangay Mabolo, Cebu City.
The Pavilion will be used for plenary sessions, workshops, and seminars during the IEC will have a huge conference hall, six function rooms, multiple exhibit rooms, and a theater, among other physical features.
The structure can accommodate 15,000 persons, the number of delegates expected from all over the world who will converge in Cebu for the 51st IEC from Jan. 24 to 31, 2016.
Msgr. Dennis Villarojo, the secretary-general of the IEC, gave an estimate on the cost of constructing the Pavilion which might reach P380 million. The amount includes the refurbishing and restructuring of the archdiocesan seminary.
Villarojo said the Pavilion is expected to be completed in October 2015 or about three months before the IEC.
“It is called a Pavilion because it’s not going to be a convention center that would have high-end amenities. It’s going to be a simple structure that will serve the delegates and can be a comfortable and decent venue for the plenary sessions and the celebration of the Eucharist during the days of the congress. Let’s not think of a high-end structure here. It’s just a roofed structure with walls, floors and will be air-conditioned,” he explained during a press conference after the groundbreaking ceremony yesterday morning.
There was a change of plan after the archdiocese considered building the pavilion out of the unfinished shell of a private commercial structure behind ParkMall in Mandaue City, close to the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC).
Villarojo said the archdiocese decided to build the Pavilion within the seminary compound so it can still be used for other activities of the local church after the IEC.
“If we’re going to spend something, it’s better to have the structure built for all time. If we build it inside the seminary which is the property of the archdiocese, it can be useful for many, many years to come and we won’t be wasting the resources. If we build it somewhere, it won’t be useful for the archdiocese and the people of Cebu for generations to come,” he said.
The construction of the Pavilion as well as preparations will be shouldered by the Archdiocese of Cebu with the help of the Roman Catholic Church in the country, through the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma appealed to the faithful to help the Church build the Pavilion as well as other preparations for the IEC.
“The IEC in Cebu City is an event of a lifetime. It would take every continent 20 years to host an IEC. If Asia will host it again, it will no longer be in the Philippines,” he said.
While building the Pavilion is an uphill climb for the Catholic Church in the Philippines, Palma believed that the Lord, through the generosity of various individuals, will realize their dreams of successfully hosting the IEC in 2016.
“What we are doing now is really acknowledging that unless the Lord builds the house, we labor in vain. We commend our efforts to God. We believe this is His project. And because this is His work, it will be accomplished with wonderful surprises,” Palma said.
“It’s actually a project of trust. We rely much on the generosity of the people. Hosting the IEC is really a gift and a task. And, yes, we will do our best. We want the IEC in 2016 to be memorable, something that will give glory to God and spur charity and mission for the growth of the Church,” he added.
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