Hungary to host next IEC

31 January 2016

Pope Francis announced on Sunday that Budapest will be hosting the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) in 2020.

The Hungarian capital will be hosting the event held every four years. The 51st IEC just held in Cebu City drew more than 12,000 participants-including laity and Church leaders-from countries around the world.

The Pope made the announcement in a taped video shown to hundreds of thousands of people gathered for the closing Mass of the IEC at the city's South Road Properties. Police later estimated the crowd to have swelled to one million.

"I am happy to announce that the next International Eucharistic Congress will take place in 2020 in Budapest, Hungary," Pope Francis said, to thunderous applause from the hundreds of thousands of people attending the Mass.

Some participants from the future host nation were also seen waving flags with joy.

Like the Philippines, this will also be the second time that Hungary will be hosting the IEC after 82 years.

In 1938, the 34th IEC was held in Budapest, Hungary, just a year after it was held in Manila in 1937.

The Congress in Cebu brought together people from all walks of life, and involved talks by renowned speakers, large open-air masses, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and a Eucharistic procession.

Pope Francis, who visited the country in January 2015, sent Myanmar Cardinal Charles Maung Bo as his legate to the weeklong gathering.

In his homily, Cardinal Bo said he was nervous at representing the Pope, and thanked Cebu for "breaking the bread of hospitality."

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma thanked the organizing committees and delegates, citing Taiwan for sending 600 pilgrims, the largest delegation.

A pilgrim group from Cebu is expected to participate in the IEC in Hungary, a country deeply scarred by a long period under a Communist regime.

The IEC aims to promote an awareness of the central place of the Eucharist in the life and mission of the Church and draw attention to the social dimension of the Eucharist.

There's no specific date yet for the IEC in Budapest but normally the event lasts for eight days. It opens on a Sunday and ends on the following Sunday. (Roy Lagarde / CBCPNews)

Photo & source: CBCPNews