MANILA, July 3, 2013— Around 15 Vatican officials will visit the Philippines to conduct an ocular inspection of the venue for the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) in 2016.

Archbishop Piero Marini, president of the Pontifical Committee on the IEC, will lead the team to Cebu City on Sept. 5, 2013.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said Marini decided to carry out the inspection this early to check the preparations for the international gathering.

“They will stay in Cebu until September 10. Aside from the ocular inspection, they will give suggestions and we would expect more meaningful and fruitful celebration as of now,” Palma said.

“We appreciate the assistance given to us by the Committee in Rome and we feel that it’s a good privilege to host this event,” he said.

The Cebu archdiocese is considering that some activities of the congress will be held at the Waterfront Hotel and Cebu International Convention Center.

The archdiocese also hopes that Pope Francis will visit the Philippines for the occasion scheduled on January 25 to 31, 2016.

The congress was originally scheduled for May 2016 but the Vatican requested to have it moved to an earlier date in January that year because the pope had prior engagements in May.

Palma earlier said the definite decision will be known mostly likely a year before the event with the theme, “Christ in You: Our Hope of Glory.”

He also said that among the preparations for the congress is choosing the logo and the theme song.

From Cebu, Marini’s group will then travel to Manila for another meeting with Filipino theologians who are involved in the preparations of the IEC. (CBCPNews)