MANILA, Dec. 14, 2015 – Cebu’s Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal looks forward to the coming 51st International Eucharistic Congress scheduled in Cebu City from Jan. 24 to 31, 2016 not just with hope but with a tinge of nostalgia.
Interviewed at the Pontificio Collegio Filippino in Rome a day after the opening celebration of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy by Pope Francis at St. Peter’s Square, Cardinal Vidal, now 84-years old recalls his being a first communicant during the 37th International Eucharistic Congress IEC) in Manila in 1937, the first time the country hosted the IEC.
Manila Archbishop Emeritus Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales, in a previous interview recalled his being part of the audience who witnessed the open air Mass with the first communicants.
Vidal said he looks forward to a “peaceful and successful” IEC in Cebu City as both Church and Philippine government officials have worked together to assure everyone of a safe and sound environment just like during Pope Francis’ visit last January.
The prelate added he invited Pope Francis to attend the 51st IEC next month during their meeting at the St. Peter’s Basilica, but the Holy Father said he cannot visit Cebu because of a tight schedule for the jubilee year celebration.
Vidal will play an important role during the IEC in a ceremony for first communicants.
The retired Cebu archbishop said he submitted his resignation to then Pope Benedict XVI upon reaching his 75th birthday in 2006 but was told to stay for five more years.
He has since retired as Archbishop of Cebu last Oct. 15, 2010. (Melo Acuña / CBCP News)