CEBU City will host the 51st International Eucharistic Congress in 2016. Pope Benedict XVI made the announcement on the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, Ireland recently. "I would like to invite you to join me in praying for God's blessing upon the next International Eucharistic Congress, which will take place in 2016 in the City of Cebu," Pope Benedict XVI announced during his Pontifical address in Ireland. "To the people of the Philippines I send warm greetings and an assurance of my closeness in prayer during the period of preparation for this great ecclesial gathering," the Pontiff said.

The Philippines, the only predominantly Catholic country in the Far East, hosted the 33rd International Eucharistic Congress in the City of Manila on February 3-7, 1937 during the time of Pope Pius XI. Held for the first time in Asia, it was billed as "the greatest and most glorious spiritual event ever witnessed in the Orient." One and a half million Catholics from the Philippines and 54 other countries poured into Manila for the event and in one mammoth procession, 600,000 participated. Pontifical masses were held in the Luneta, now Rizal Park, and attended by hundreds of thousands of devotees and pilgrims.

A Eucharistic Congress is an international gathering of clergy, religious, and laity, that takes place every four years in a part of the world chosen by Church leaders. It 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, an important Roman Catholic doctrine.

The first international Eucharistic Congress was held in the City of Lille, France, on June 21, 1881. Since then Eucharistic Congresses have been held throughout the world. They have been held in Paris, Antwerp, Jerusalem, London, Cologne, Montreal, Madrid, Vienna, Chicago, Ireland, Melbourne, Budapest, Barcelona, Munich, Bombay, and Bogota and other cities around the world.

We greet His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, and the Province of Cebu, led by Governor Gwendolyn F. Garcia, and Vice Governor Agnes A. Magpale, and the City of Cebu headed by His Honor, Mayor Michael L. Rama, and Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young, Councilors namely, Rodrigo A. Abellanosa, Raul D. Alcoseba, Sisinio M. Andales, Alvin B. Arcilla, Roberto A. Cabarrubias, Ma. Nida C. Cabrera, Ronald R. Cuenco, Jose C. Daluz III, Alvin M. Dizon, Lea O. Japson, Edgardo C. Labella, Margarita V. Osmena, Richard Z. Osmena, Augustus G. Pe Jr., John Philip Echavez-Po II, Michael L. Ralota, Eduardo R. Rama Jr., and Noel G. Wenceslao, and other Officials, as they prepare for an important spiritual undertaking, the 51st International Eucharistic Congress. The Manila Bulletin, led by its Chairman of the Board Dr. Emilio T. Yap, President and Publisher Atty. Hermogenes P. Pobre, Executive Vice President Dr. Emilio C. Yap III, Editor-in-Chief Dr. Cris J. Icban Jr., Business Editor Loreto D. Cabanes, and Officers, wish them all the best and success in all their endeavors. CONGRATULATIONS!

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