03/30/2008, 00.00
VATICAN
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For the Pope, John Paul II and Faustina Kowalska are Apostles of Divine Mercy

Three years since the death of the Polish pope, Benedict XVI announces the First World Congress on Divine Mercy, something dear to John Paul II, to focus the mission of the Church and achieve peace in the world, which “is impossible for human forces alone.”

Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) – A few days shy of the anniversary of John Paul II’s death, Benedict XVI announced during the Regina Caeli today that he would preside over a Mass in memory of the great Polish pope. The Mass will open the First World Congress on Apostolic Divine Mercy in Rome. Card Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna, is among the organisers.

“Mercy,’ said Benedict XVI, ‘is in reality the core of the Evangelical message; it is the name of God itself, the face with which He revealed Himself in the Ancient Covenant and fully in Jesus Christ, incarnation of Creative and Redemptive Love. This love of mercy illuminates the face of the Church as well, and manifests itself via the Sacraments, in particular that of the Reconciliation, and charity, community and individual works. All that the Church says and does is a manifestation of God’s mercy for man. When the Church has to reiterate an unrecognised truth or a good thing that was betrayed, it does so driven by a merciful love that men may have life and have it more abundantly (cf Jn, 10:10). From Divine Mercy, which pacifies the hearts, comes true peace in the world, peace among different peoples, cultures and religions.”

It was thanks to John Paul II that the second Sunday of Easter (Dominica in Albis) became the ‘Sunday of Divine Mercy’. “This occurred at the same time as the canonisation of Faustina Kowalska, a humble Polish nun born in 1905 who died in 1938, a zealous messenger of the Merciful Jesus.”

“Like Sister Faustina,” the Pope added, “John Paul II was several times the Apostle of Divine Mercy. That unforgettable Saturday, 2 April 2005, when he closed his eyes to this world, was the eve of the Second Sunday of Easter, and many noted the singular coincidence with its Marian dimension, that of being the first Saturday of the month and that of Divine Mercy. In effect the heart of his long and multifaceted pontificate lies in that; his entire mission in the service of the truth about God and man and peace in the world is summarised in this announcement, which he made himself in Krakow-Łagiewniki in 2002, when he inaugurated the Shrine of Divine Mercy: ‘[A]part from the mercy of God there is no other source of hope for mankind.’ His message, like that of St Faustina’s, leads back to the face of Christ, the supreme revelation of God’s mercy. Constantly contemplating that face, that is the heritage he left us, and which we welcome and make our own with joy.”

At the end of his reflection, Benedict urged the faithful to place the congress that opens tomorrow in Rome “under the celestial protection of Mary, Holiest Mater Misericordiae. To her we trust the great cause of peace in the world so that God’s mercy may accomplish what is impossible to human forces alone, and inspire courage for dialogue and reconciliation.”

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