01/18/2016, 21.45
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Congresses of Mercy: not a movement in the Church, but the Church in movement

WACOM presents European and world congresses to be held in Rome and Manila respectively. “It is a call not only to the dioceses, but also to other Churches, to the baptised in general, to members of other religions, agnostics, atheists, politicians, people involved in the third sector. . . . Shared this way, mercy becomes a spark for new creativity and new civilisations."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Fr Patrice Chocholski, secretary general of the World Apostolic Congress of Mercy (WACOM), said that Mercy is not a Church movement, but the Church in movement. He spoke at press conference held today in the Vatican presenting upcoming Apostolic Congresses on Mercy, in Rome (Italy) for Europe, and Manila (Philippines) for the World.

“Congresses at the world, continental, national, and regional levels are a response to the Gospel call, which Popes John Paul II and Francis reiterated,” Fr Chocholski said. “They are impulses so that the Church is more aware and more motivated in its mission by the mystery of God's mercy. The Holy Year of Mercy is a tremendous boost."

"It is a call not only to the dioceses, but also to other Churches, to the baptised in general, to members of other religions, agnostics, atheists, politicians, people involved in the third sector. . . . Shared this way, mercy becomes a spark for new creativity and new civilisations."

In answering reporters’ questions during the press conference, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna and WACOM president, called the wave of immigrants to Europe and reactions by some countries that shut their borders a "huge challenge”. In view of the situation, "There is a risk,” he said, “that everyone will pull back, that boundaries and walls will return, that another Iron Curtain will descend upon us.”

"Let us ask ourselves whether prudence and Christian mercy can overcome fears and new nationalisms,” like “the wave of neo-nationalism that is sweeping across Europe,” he said. "We need courageous politicians like those who fight corruption at the risk of their own life."

The European congress is scheduled for 31 March-4 April in Rome and will be opened by the Card Agostino Vallini and Father Carlos Gomez-Ruiz, followed by a conference by Card Schönborn.

Various speakers will present experiences from various European countries during much of the opening and following days. Some speakers will focus on specific features of Mercy. Between 6 pm and midnight on 1 April, jubilee churches will be open for a Night of Reconciliation for penitential celebrations and confession.

At 6 pm the next day, a prayer vigil will be held in St Peter's Square in the presence of Pope Francis. On 3 April, Divine Mercy Sunday (Dominica in albis), the Holy Father will celebrate a Mass for the Jubilee of the spirituality of the Divine Mercy.

For its part, the Philippines will host the World Apostolic Congress on Mercy on 16-20 January 2017. The general theme will be ‘Communion in mercy, mission of mercy (called by mercy, sent for mercy)’. Each day will have its topic: ‘God is the Father of mercies, and Jesus Christ is the compassionate heart of the Father,’ ‘The Church is the Body of the Face of Divine Mercy and its mission is to preach the Gospel of Infinite Mercy’, ‘The Church is a merciful community that forgives’, ‘The Lord hears the cry of the poor . . .’, and ‘The Church is sent to be the presence and witness of God's mercy in the world. 

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