Palma still hopeful on Pope’s 2016 IEC visit
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said he and the rest of the archdiocese continue to pin their hopes on a visit by Pope Francis to Cebu City for the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) in 2016.
Speaking in a press conference yesterday, Palma said Francis’ visit to another country in Asia by 2016 could boost the chances of the latter dropping by Cebu in time for the IEC.
“Will he come in 2016? To tell you honestly, I am hopeful because there is a plan that he will visit another Asian country that year and if he is already there, who knows he may make a McArthur and return to the Philippines,” Palma said.
Palma together with other church leaders officially launched the IEC’s painting and photo contest at The Gallery in Ayala Center Cebu yesterday afternoon.
Cebu was not included in the itinerary of the the pope’s four-day trip to the country in January next year.
Instead, Pope Francis will visit Metro Manila and Leyte to spend time with victims of supertyphoon Yolanda.
Palma yesterday said the Cebu archdiocese made a number of adjustments to accommodate Francis’ schedule in 2016, including the proposed date of the IEC which was initially pegged in June.
Palma yesterday said they will again send a letter of invitation to the Vatican for the pope to be here for the IEC scheduled on January 24-31, 2016.
“We are used to the culture that yes, we can make a request or proposal and express what we want but if a decision has been made then we say, okay. So as a Cebuano, I told them that if the pope decides to go to Manila and Tacloban, then we will respect his decision,” he said.
Still, Palma said the pope’s presence “is not necessary” during the Eucharistic Congress compared to the World Youth Day celebrations.
The IEC’s national promotion and publicity committee chairperson Elvira Go said popes could have skipped the congresses on purpose in order not to steal the attention from the real purpose of the activity.
During yesterday’s launching of the IEC photo and painting contest, Palma invited Cebuano artists to join saying the entries from both contests will be “immortal reminders” of the events leading to the 2016 Congress.
The nationwide painting contest is exclusive for Filipinos but the organizing committee will accept entries from around the world for the photo contest which revolves around the theme, “Christ in You, Our Hope of Glory.”
Participants will have five months to come up with their entries. The IEC secretariat will only accept submissions during the period of April 10-15 next year. The awarding will be on May 8. A cash prize of P100,000 awaits the first placer of the painting contest with P75,000 for the second place and P50,000 for the third place.
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