CEBU City, Nov. 23, 2015 – At least 7,000 people yesterday trooped to the Eucharistic Pavilion which was opened to the public for the first time for the structure’s consecration to Christ the King.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma led the Eucharistic celebration inside the three-storey structure that was built for the forthcoming 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC)—an event which is expected to draw about 15,000 delegates from different parts of the world to Cebu City from Jan. 24 to 31, 2016.
The Pavilion, which the faithful saw for the first time that day since its turn over by its contractor to the Archdiocese of Cebu, was specially consecrated as the Catholic Church celebrated yesterday the Solemnity Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
Consecrated to Christ the King
“We are ready for the International Eucharistic Congress. (And) we consecrate this Pavilion to Christ the King,” said Palma in his homily while drawing applause from the huge crowd.
A portion of Pope John Paul II Avenue, particularly in front of the archdiocesan seminary compound where the Pavilion is located, was closed to private vehicles yesterday afternoon as part of the traffic rerouting dry run for IEC 2016.
The stretch starting from F. Cabahug Street (corner Leona Cakes and Pastries) in barangay Mabolo to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority office in barangay Lahug was closed to private cars today from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. for another traffic dry run.
Passenger jeepneys and taxicabs, however, can take their usual routes.
Palma said some activities, including a concert to be participated in by 400 priests in the archdiocese, are scheduled inside the Pavilion to test the facility before the start of the IEC.
Msgr. Joseph Tan, media liaison officer of the Cebu Archdiocese, said a total of 7,344 individuals joined the Eucharistic celebration at the Pavilion yesterday.
The figure, he said, was based on the number of new chairs that were brought in and occupied by people during the event.
Cebu’s newest landmark
Present during the Mass were Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Cebu Auxiliary Bishops Dennis Villarojo and Oscar Florencio, and Bishops Antonio Rañola, Christian Noel, and Ireneo Amantillo, as well as about 60 priests.
Duros Development Corp. (DDC) turned over the Eucharistic Pavilion to the Archdiocese of Cebu last Saturday.
DDC shouldered the full cost of building, amounting to about Php 550 million.
In exchange, the Archdiocese of Cebu will give the construction company usufruct rights over parts of the seminary property.
Also in attendance were Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, Rep. Raul del Mar of Cebu City’s north district, and former Congressman Eduardo Gullas.
Cebu’s newest landmark, which stands on a 25,754-square meter lot behind the archdiocesan seminary in Mabolo, Cebu City, features a huge plenary hall, a chapel, theater, and six function rooms.
The Pavilion will be the main venue of the 51st IEC which normally takes place every four years to promote an awareness of the central place of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Church, to deepen ones understanding of the liturgy, and to draw attention to the social dimension of the Eucharist.
The last time the IEC was held in the country was in 1937 in Manila. (Archdiocese of Cebu / CBCP News)