Manila, Philippines --- Pope Francis has been formally invited to attend the 51st International Eucharistic Congress set in Cebu City on May 23-29, 2016.
Archbishop and Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Jose Palma relayed the invitation to the Eucharistic Congress Committee which held a meeting in Rome, Italy, recently.
If the Papal visit pushes through, the Pontiff will be the third pope to visit the country after Pope Paul VI in 1970 and Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1981 and 1995.
Preparations for the Eucharistic congress are ongoing at the Cebu archdiocese.
Palma, in a CBCP News post, said the country's theologians have been meeting to prepare the topics that will be discussed during the gathering, which is expected to draw thousands of delegates consisting of Church leaders, pilgrims, and lay people from different countries.
The prelate had just arrived from Rome, Italy, where he attended the meeting of the Eucharistic Congress Committee.
With the theme "Christ in You: Our Hope of Glory," the International Eucharistic Congress is held every four years, with the last one held in Dublin, Ireland in 2012. It aims to promote awareness of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Church, to improve understanding and celebration of the liturgy, and to draw the social dimension of the Eucharist. The Philippines hosted the IEC in 1937 in Manila during the pontificate of Pope Pius XI.