International Eucharistic Congress: More than an obligation and a ritual

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) is being held in Cebu, a place that has special meaning to Catholics in the country as it was where the religion was first introduced in the Philippines.

Watch: Cebu: A bastion of Christianity

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said, "This is a special gift for us ... to be gathered by the Lord; by God as his children."

Among the people for whom the IEC has special meaning is Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Vidal and Mrs. Rosita Rodriguez-Arcenas, both took their first communion during the 1937 IEC held in Manila.

Related: The Archdiocesan Seminaries of Cebu

On Saturday (January 30), Cardinal Vidal will preside over the first communion of 5,000 children — some of whom are street children. This will be one of the highlights of the 51st IEC.

This report aired on CNN Philippines Network News on January 26, 2016.