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Irish pilgrims prepare for Cebu Eucharistic Congress

By Susan Gately - 09 January, 2016

Archbishop of Dublin celebrates Mass today with 26 Irish pilgrims from 11 dioceses who will attend 51st International Eucharistic Congress from 24 – 31 January 2016.

IEC2016 CebuThe Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin will today celebrate Mass in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth with twenty-six pilgrims representing eleven Irish dioceses who are travelling to Cebu in the Philippines for the 51st International Eucharistic Congress which runs from 24 – 31 January 2016.

Most of the Irish delegation depart for the Philippines next Thursday, 21 January.

Today’s Mass is part of a final preparatory meeting hosted by Bishop Kevin Doran, who was secretary general of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in 2012.

The theme of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress is ‘Christ in You, Our Hope of Glory’.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin leads the Irish delegation to Cebu and will be the principal celebrant for the main Congress Mass on Friday 29 January.

His colleague, Bishop Kevin Doran will be the main celebrant at the English language Mass on Wednesday 27 January.

Other Irish pilgrims include Fr John Coughlan from the Diocese of Elphin who will speak at the theology symposium and Ms Frankie Berry, Chaplaincy to Deaf People, who will address a workshop on Thursday 28 January.

Anne Griffin, who was General Manager of IEC2012, will attend the Congress as part of the Holy See delegation along with Archbishop Piero Marini, President of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, and his team.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s gathering in Maynooth, Bishop Kevin Doran noted that Christians were a small minority of the population of Asia, but a very significant presence in the Philippines.

“This gives the Congress in Cebu a strong missionary dimension. The theme is a reminder to the Filipino Church that through Christ who lives in them, they are carriers of Hope for the whole of Asia.”

He added that the pilgrimage in Cebu would be an opportunity for the Irish delegation “to consider how we can become once again carriers of hope, not just for ourselves, but for the people of Europe”.

According Auxiliary Bishop Dennis Villarojo, secretary general of the IEC 2016 organising committee, up to one million people are expected to attend the culminating mass of the congress on 31 January which will be celebrated by Cardinal Charles Maung Bo from the Archdiocese of Yangon, Myanmar.

Cardinal Bo has been appointed Papal Legate to the 51st IEC by Pope Francis.

The final Mass will be open to the public and will not be held exclusively for registered delegates and participants.

The organisers of the congress are expecting 15,000 foreign and local delegates to attend the congress, which will be held in the Philippines for the second time since 1952, when Manila first hosted the event.

Irish people wishing to follow the Cebu Eucharistic Congress may do so through live streaming  on http://iec2016.ph/live-streaming/

Cebu is eight hours ahead of Ireland.

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