In the Culminating Mass for the 4th World Apostolic Congress on Mercy (WACOM 4) held in Bataan’s Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar last January 20, 2017, Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos, D.D. urged the delegates to heed God’s call and become the new breed of missionaries and messengers of mercy.
“God called us today for two essential tasks,” he said. “First, our mission is mercy and we are now the new missionaries of God’s mercy; and second, our message is mercy and we are now the messengers of God’s mercy.”
He added that devotees of mercy must defend, promote and protect life, as well as, propagate and respect it, “Mercy is to sustain life and not make it suffer; to prolong and not kill it.”
Citing the day’s Gospel about an adulteress brought to Jesus for stoning, the Bishop put emphasis on the crowd’s attitude that lacked mercy and compassion because they were happily demanding her death.
“Those who brought the woman to Jesus were after her summary execution–extra judicial–and they wanted her to not just be punished but to die a violent death,” he expounded, “How can one rejoice with the death penalty? How can one pride himself of killing in the name of God or just because of some religious belief?”
Bishop Santos likewise stressed that mercy doesn’t mean taking matters into our hands by casting the first stone. Rather, mercy requires us “to open our hearts even to the worst sinner or those with a shameful past, hold them tight and hug them with dignity and without descrimination.”
The delegates were then asked to put on their e-lights (electronic candles) before the Eucharistic Celebration ended as the Mission Sending ceremony.
There were approximately 5,000 delegates, most of whom are Filipinos from all over the world–the very reason the WACOM 4 was held in the Country as most of the promulgators and devotees of the Divine Mercy were Filipinos.
Earlier in the day, the Bishop was congratulated for the successful WACOM 4 before WACOM Secretary General Rev. Fr. Patrice Chocholski announced that the host country for the next congress in 2020, WACOM 5, will be held in Samoa in the Region of Oceania, particularly in its capital of Apia.
“We accept the grace of hosting the next WACOM,” said Archbishop of Samoa-Apia Alapati Lui Mataeliga before he and his delegation sung their invitation to the WACOM4 delegates lead by Archdiocesan Staff Theresa Mataeliga. (~Lulu Reclusado-Nario)