‘We are ready for IEC’

By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol November 22,2015 - 11:04 PM

At least 7,000 people yesterday trooped to the Eucharistic Pavilion, Cebu’s newest landmark which was opened to the public for the first time.

Archbishop Jose Palma led the Eucharistic celebration inside the three-story structure built for the forthcoming 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC), which is seen to draw about 15,000 delegates from across the globe on Jan. 24 to 31, 2016.

Archbishop Jose Palma carries the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance as part of the Mass to celebrate Christ the King and consecrate the IEC Pavilion, a newly built structure that can accomodate 15,000 people. (CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

Archbishop Jose Palma carries the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance as part of the Mass to celebrate Christ the King and consecrate the IEC Pavilion, a newly built structure that can accomodate 15,000 people. (CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

The Pavilion, located behind the archdiocesan seminary along Pope John Paul II Ave. in barangay Mabolo, was also consecrated as the Catholic Church celebrated yesterday the feast of Christ the King.

“We are ready for the International Eucharistic Congress. (And) we consecrate this Pavilion to Christ the King,” said Palma in his homily, drawing applause from the huge crowd.

A portion of Pope John Paul II Avenue, from the corner of F. Cabahug to the corner of Archbishop Reyes Ave., was closed to private vehicles yesterday afternoon as part of the traffic rerouting dry run for the 2016 IEC.

The same stretch will be closed to private cars today from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. for another traffic dry run. Passenger jeepneys and taxicabs, however, can take their usual routes.

Archbishop Palma said some activities, including a concert to be participated by 400 priests in the archdiocese, are scheduled inside the Pavilion to test the facility before the start of the IEC.

Msgr. Joseph Tan, media liaison officer of the Cebu Archdiocese, said a total of 7,344 individuals joined the Eucharistic celebration at the Pavilion yesterday.

The figure, he said, was based on the number of new chairs that were brought in and occupied by people during the event.

Present during the Mass were Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Cebu Auxiliary Bishops Dennis Villarojo and Oscar Florencio, and Bishops Antonio Rañola, Christian Noel, and Ireneo Amantillo, as well as about 60 priests.

Also in attendance were Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, Rep. Raul del Mar of Cebu City’s north district, and former congressman Eduardo Gullas.

In his homily, Archbishop Palma emphasized the need for every person to let Christ reign in one’s life and in the entire country, “from Aparri to Jolo.”

“Many people think they don’t need God anymore because they are rich, powerful, and popular. But again, we say ‘Christ is the center of our life.’ He is the king of our hearts,” the prelate said.

The Feast of Christ the King was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 in response to the growing secularism and materialism. The feast marks the end of the liturgical year of the Church.

The next Sunday is the start of the Advent season leading to Christmas, and the beginning of the Year of the Eucharist in the Philippines.

Unlike other kings and rulers in the world, Jesus didn’t live a majestic and imperial life, Palma said.

“As portrayed in the scriptures, it’s as if Jesus is not king at all. He was even condemned to death and was killed. But we know that His kingdom is not of this world,” he said.

“His kingdom is a kingdom of truth and life, of holiness and grace; a kingdom of justice, love and peace,” the archbishop added.

After communion, Palma led the procession of the Blessed Sacrament inside the Pavilion as the congregation knelt while singing hymns of praise to the Lord.

The Eucharistic Pavilion was turned over by Duros Development Corp. (DDC) to the Archdiocese of Cebu last Saturday. Duros built the P550-million building at no cost to the Church.

In exchange, the Archdiocese of Cebu will give the construction company usufruct rights over part of the seminary property.

The Pavilion features a huge plenary hall, a chapel, theater, and six function rooms. It will be the main venue of the 51st IEC, which normally takes place every four years to promote an awareness of the central place of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Church, deepen one’s understanding of the liturgy, and draw attention to the social dimension of the Eucharist.

The last time the IEC was held in the country was in 1937 in Manila.

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TAGS: 51st International Eucharistic Congress, Cebu, Cebu City, IEC Pavilion, Pope John Paul II Avenue

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