Pope Francis has approved the date and theme of the 51st International Eucharist Congress which will take place in Cebu, Philippines in 2016. The Pontifical Commission for the International Eucharistic Congresses stated that they were informed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State, on the Holy Father’s approval.
The international event will be held on January 25th-31st under the theme “Christ in you, our hope of glory” which is taken from the Letter of St. Paul to the Colossians. The choice of the Philippines as the next venue for the congress was announced by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI during a video message at the conclusion of the previous Eucharistic Congress held in Dublin in June 2012.
“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!” Benedict XVI said in the video message.
“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. I am confident that it will bring lasting spiritual renewal not only to them but to all the participants from across the globe.”
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines expressed their desire that the upcoming congress will deepen Eucharistic devotion in the country as well as prepare for the 500th Anniversary of the evangelization in the Philippines.
Located in the heart of the Philippine archipelago, Cebu was discovered by Ferdinand Megellan in 1521 and was received by the indigenous king, Humabon, who shortly after converted to Christianity along with his queen, Juana, and 400 of his subjects. To commemorate the conversion, Magellan gave the queen a statue of the child Jesus (Santo Niño) as well as erecting a cross at the place where they converted. Filippinos commemorate the feast of the Santo Niño on the third week in January.
“The celebration of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress in this Country, the only one with a Catholic majority in Asian continent, is an important challenge to strengthen the missionary/evangelizing perspective as well as for identifying new ways in celebrating the Congresses themselves,” stated a communique by the Pontifical Commission for International Eucharistic Congresses.
The Pontifical Commission also stated that the theme of the congress wishes to underline the “inherent eschatological tension in the Eucharist offers an impulse in the historical path of Christians.”
Within the theme of hope, the announcement of the gift of God to the young, of which Asia is very rich, will be recovered as well as the commitment to the ranks of the poor of the continent,” the commission stated.