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Cebu a good choice for Pope’s visit – Vatican officials

CEBU CITY (PNA) – Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma says a visit to Cebu last week by a team from the Vatican paves the way for a possible visit of Pope Francis to the city during the International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) in January 2016.

”But we cannot make any announcement now. We cannot preempt the Pope. He is the one to announce it,” Palma said.

But Cebu has gained the nod from the Vatican team.

“Cebu is a good choice,” said Fr. Vittore Bocardi, Pontifical Committee for IEC executive secretary.

“There is no need of a rich town, or a town in the Western area,” he said.

Boccardi said what is needed in the preparations for the week-long event is a Christian community that is “ready and willing to receive pilgrims coming from all parts of the world.”

“We did everything to facilitate the visit of the Holy Father. Now, what is left to do is for the Holy Father to make his decision whether to come to Cebu for the celebration or not,” he added.

Archbishop Piero Marini, the Pontifical Permanent Committee for IEC president and a member of the Vatican team, said the IEC is held in different countries every four years.

He said usually the Pope comes for the last mass called the Statio Orbis or the “worldwide meeting or celebration presided by the Holy Father or one of his delegates.”

Among the sites visited by the Vatican team were the small temple at the South Road Properties in Cebu City, site the national thanksgiving mass for the canonization of San Pedro Calungsod, and the Cebu International Convention Center in Mandaue City.