No campaigning in IEC, politicians told

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Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara of Pasig, chairman of the Department of Communications of the International Eucharistic Congress, leads the press conference at the IEC Pavilion.

CEBU City, Jan 24, 2016 – Politicians are welcome to attend the 51st International Eucharistic Congress here, but only as “pilgrims.

The week-long IEC, which is expected to draw 12,000 participants, is open to all but is not an occasion for electioneering, said Msgr. Joseph Tan, executive secretary of the IEC Communications Department.

“Although the IEC is open to everybody, including politicians, we want to make sure that we will not change the IEC to become some kind of a political event for one party or the other, or one candidate or the other,” the priest said in a press briefing this morning at the IEC Pavilion.

“Of course we expect … some of the people running for office to be present, but they will be treated like any other person, as pilgrims,” explained Tan.

“We are open to their presence but rest assured that this will not become a platform for their electioneering,” he added.

The IEC, a major religious event that promotes the centrality of the Eucharist in Christian life, features daily celebrations of the Holy Mass as well as catechetical talks. The theme of the 51st IEC is “Christ in You, Our Hope of Glory,” taken from Colossians 1:27.

Two celebrations of the Eucharist will serve as the high points of the 51st IEC — the opening Mass at the Plaza Independencia signalling the start of the quadrennial congress today, Jan. 24, and the Statio Orbis (“The World Stops”) or Misa ng Mundo at the South Road Properties on Jan. 31.

Both Masses will be led by Yangon Archbishop Charles Maung Cardinal Bo, the papal legate or Pope Francis’ personal representative to the 51st IEC. (CBCP News)

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