Peñafrancia feast carries Pope’s ‘mercy’ theme

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NAGA City, Oct. 1, 2015 – “God’s mercy is from age-to-age. It is not of the past, but of the present and proceeds to the future until the fulfillment of [God’s] promise.”

These were the words of Apostolic Nuncio to Australia, Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, main presider and preacher at the Pontifical Mass succeeding the fluvial procession of Ina, Our Lady of Peñafrancia, last Sept. 19 at the Basilica Minore de Peñafrancia.

Fluvial procession ofIna, Our Lady of Peñafrancia, last Sept. 19 at the Basilica Minore de Peñafrancia (Photo: Jojo Prieto)

Like Parent, Like Child

In his message, Yllana stressed God’s unfailing and everlasting mercy. He related stories from the Bible wherein “God did not withhold mercy”, such as when God sent a Savior for mankind despite Adam and Eve’s sinfulness. The fulfillment of this promise happened when Jesus was born. “Mercy [then became] living and visible,” the prelate explained.

Jesus, according to Yllana, was merciful like His father and mother. “Mary, in her lowliness, showed mercy and compassion at the wedding feast (of Cana),” he said. Here, “mercy triumph[ed].” And on the foot of the cross, Mary “received all of humanity, without borders, and nourished [them all] with mercy”.

The Apostolic Nuncio to Australia also exhorted, “In the manner we see or fail to see Christ, we will be judged accordingly in the end of time. To make this feast more meaningful, let us all be heralds of mercy. Bring the goodness and tenderness of God [to others].”

Holy Year of Mercy

The theme of the annual feast, Living out God’s mercy and compassion in the Year of the Poor, runs parallel with Pope Francis’ declaration of the Holy Year of Mercy, which opens on Dec. 8, 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and ends on Nov. 20, 2016, the Solemnity of Christ the King.

“Perhaps, we have long since forgotten how to show and live the way of mercy,” wrote Pope Francis in his Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, Misericordiae Vultus.

According to the Holy Father, the “practice of [mercy] is waning in the wider culture [and more often than not, it has been] dropped out of use.”

Heralds of Mercy

“[But] mercy [is] the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us,” Pope Francis further wrote. “It is a wellspring of joy, serenity and peace,” he added. “Mercy [is] the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness.” Thus, there is a “need to constantly contemplate [on] the mystery of mercy,” he added.

“Mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life,” the Holy Father said. “Nothing in the [Church’s] preaching and in her witness to the world can be lacking in mercy.” Her “very credibility is seen in how she shows merciful and compassionate love.” (Natalie Hazel P. Quimlat / CBCP News)

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