MANILA, Jan. 18, 2017 – The Holy Year of Mercy may have ended but the mission to live out mercy extends beyond it.
This was the message of Msgr. Eugene Sylva, English language official serving on the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, on the second day of the 4th World Apostolic Congress on Mercy (WACOM), Jan. 17 at the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) Quadricentennial Pavilion.
“In his apostolic letter ‘Misericordia et Misera’ to mark the conclusion of the Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis expressed his great desire that what we have celebrated during the Holy Year of Mercy, a time rich in mercy, must continue to be celebrated and lived out,” said the priest, who is part of the dicastery of the Roman Curia tasked to organize the jubilee year celebration.
Sharing stories about how the witness of some 4,000 jubilee volunteers from 37 countries, Sylva shared how they communicated the love and mercy of God to some 22 million people who undertook the pilgrimage of mercy.
Ranging from 18 to 87-years old, the volunteers comprised men and women, young and old, military personnel, PWDs, senior citizens, college students, housewives, and even notably, an elderly couple who celebrated their 65th anniversary by volunteering for a week.
“These jubilee volunteers were not seeking to be recognized or to have their names remembered on a plaque, but they did want to give more than just access to a holy door. By their presence, by their attentiveness, by their bright smiles, they demonstrated to each pilgrim that his or her life has value and meaning,” said Sylva, lauding the volunteers who would become a familiar sight in St. Peter’s Square because of their bright yellow vests and hats.
Exhorting some 5,000 WACOM4 delegates to imitate the jubilee volunteers’ example, he explained the close connection between love and the spiritual life.
Love + faith
“It is love that generates love and faith that sustains love…Someone believes if he or she knows that they are loved…Love and mercy provided the pilgrims with the reasons to believe.”
“Friends, what a continuation! May our time together this week encourage and strengthen each one of us to dress in yellow, to be a dazzling light of the mystery of our Christian faith, so that we can become ever more powerful and effective instruments and evangelizers of God’s goodness,” he said
He also expressed “the personal greetings and the prayerful best wishes” from President Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, who heads the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, which is tasked to “to deepen the theological and pastoral sense of the New Evangelization.” (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz / CBCPNews)