MANILA, Jan. 16, 2017— The international meeting on “mercy” is a “timely” gathering amid the rampant summary killings of suspected criminals and other challenges facing the country, a Church official said.
Fr. Prospero Tenorio, Secretary General of the World Apostolic Congress on Mercy (Wacom) for Asia, said it is also a reminder that the mission for mercy continues.
“This a great challenge for all of us and for our country to be reminded on the mercy of God,” Tenorio said.
He said the congress on mercy is an invitation to respect and defend the value of human life.
“This gathering is about ‘communion in mercy and mission for mercy’ where we basically give importance to the gift of life. Remember life is a gift from God and the way we live our life is our gift to God,” he said.
“There’s no discussion on the extrajudicial killings but of course we will present the beauty of life in its general sense,” said Tenorio.
More than 5,000 local and foreign delegates, priests and bishops from at least 40 countries arrived in Manila on Monday for the opening Mass the 4th WACOM at 4:00pm at the Manila Cathedral.
The liturgical celebration will be presided over by Papal nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila as the homilist.
Tenorio said that among the countries with the most number of delegates are Indonesia and Malaysia, a potential host of the next WACOM in 2020.
In the Philippines, all the 86 dioceses have sent their own participants with most of them coming from Davao, Bacolod and Bulacan.
And as a host country, the priest added that the Filipinos could be instrumental to further spread the mercy of God to other nations.
French Father Patrice Chocholski, Secretary General of the WACOM, earlier said that Filipinos are the “testimony of faith” in the world.
“I would say the most important message is your responsibility as Filipinos for future evangelization,” said Chocholski.
“The Divine Mercy can transform our society. This is the hope we have because I feel that the Philippine Church has an important responsibility for the future of the Church,” he added.
Aside from Manila, the event is set to bring delegates to three other locations: Padre Pio National Shrine in Santo Tomas, Batangas on Jan. 18: National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Marilao, Bulacan on Jan. 19; and Parish of St Catherine of Alexandria, Diocese of Balanga in Bataan on Jan. 20.
The Congress will also feature a wide array of speakers including French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, whom Pope Francis appointed as his representative throughout the Congress from Jan. 16 to 20. (CBCPNews)