In response to Pope Francis' announcement of the Year of Mercy, the Claretian Missionaries with lay collaborators organized the Divine Mercy Congress in Macao from January 22 to 25, 2016. St. Lawrence Parish, where one of our brothers, Fr. Jojo Ancheril, CMF, is the parish priest, was the venue. The main theme of the Congress was "Jesus Christ—the Face of the Merciful Father." About eighty participants from the Mainland, Macao, Hongkong and Taiwan attended the said congress.
The congress began on Friday evening, Jan 22, with the opening mass presided by Fr. Stephan Rothlin, SJ. In his homily he showed how the social teaching of the church springs from the fount of the Divine Mercy. Then, he wished all the participants to have a meaningful experience during the coming days. Four speakers developed the theme of the congress. Since they were from the Mainland, Hongkong, the Philippines and India, their presence added an international flavor to the event.
The congress was not just an intellectual event, but experiential as well. Aside from six biblical talks about God’s mercy in the Old and New Testament, the participants also experienced the Divine Mercy in the sacrament of reconciliation and through prayer. During the entire events Claretian priests were at the service of those who wanted to receive God’s mercy through the sacrament of reconciliation. Then, on the second day of the event, Fr. Joy Pulickal, CMF, conducted a healing service with the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and prayer for inner and physical healing. The organizers also provided ample time for sharing and testimonials. Each day, some of the participants shared how the Divine Mercy was visible in their lives with their stories of conversions and forgiveness, of healing and transformation. The Gospel became alive again and all realized that God’s mercy was something real, concrete, and experiential.
The last day of the event was graced with the presence of the newly appointed shepherd of the Diocese of Macao, Bishop Stephen Lee, who presided over the concluding Eucharist. After the Holy Mass, he spent an hour with the participants, sharing about his life and experience, and answering their questions. It was truly a time of God’s mercy and—as one of the participants said—one could see "the finger of God" behind the event.