MANILA, July 13 (PNA) — Pope Francis will not be attending the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) to be held in Cebu City in January 2016.
This was revealed by Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), in a press conference on Monday at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila.
However, the Lingayen-Dagupan prelate said that the Holy Father is expected to send his representative to the religious event early next year.
“He will not be attending. I think he will be sending a papal delegate, papal envoy,” he said.
He explained that it is acceptable that Pope Francis is not attending the event since he was only in the country last January.
“Reasonable naman ‘yun, kasi nandito lang siya in January. Nakakahiya naman sa ibang bansa kung pupunta na naman siya dito,” the CBCP head said.
Villegas added that the people should let the Pope visit other countries and meet other people.
“Bigyan natin ng pagkakataon ‘yung ibang bansa na makita din siya, kasi kapag nag-insist tayo, parang selfish tayo dahil mababawasan siya ng pagkakataon para dumalaw sa ibang bansa. Sayang din na mas maraming tao siyang makikita sa ibang panig ng mundo,” he said.
Pope Francis was in the country for his Apostolic and State Visit last Jan. 15-19.
It is the second time the country will be hosting the IEC. The international gathering was first hosted in Manila in 1937.
Held every four years, the 51st IEC is expected to draw thousands of participants –- including laity and Church leaders -– from countries around the world. (PNA)