Bishop Lori Reflects on Upcoming World Congress

What is the first-ever World Apostolic Congress on Mercy all about?

The following is an excerpt from remarks made at the 3rd Annual Divine Mercy Conference on Saturday, Feb. 9, by His Excellency William E. Lori, Bishop of Bridgeport, Conn., who serves as an honorary member of the U.S. Congress's national committee:

This first-ever World Apostolic Congress on Mercy will be a gathering of clergy and religious and laity and many others from around the world. ... It will gather together Catholics from every part of the globe, thus involving and representing the Universal Church. But it will also include Orthodox, Protestant Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Buddhist, and many seeking God with a sincere heart.

We are hopeful that there will be upwards of 10,000 participants, including cardinals and bishops, curial officials, priests, deacons and religious, and delegates representing various countries and regions, and thousands and thousands of lay people ...

The purpose of this Congress is to study, to reflect on, to celebrate the message and the reality of the richness and power of God's mercy - not just as an academic subject to be dissected, but rather as the very core of our faith and our hope and our love. ...

We have every reason to believe that the participants will be greatly enriched and certainly even transformed by experience of the Congress. The hope is that the participants will return home as evangelizers to spread the news of God's mercy and to help start, or to solidify, the many efforts that are around to proclaim and live God's mercy in dioceses and parishes throughout the world. ...

Why do we call it an "Apostolic" Congress? I would say that it is apostolic in two senses. First, it is apostolic because we are being welcomed to Rome by Pope Benedict XVI, the successor of Peter, the prince of the apostles, together with Cardinals and Bishops from around the world ...

Secondly, the Congress is apostolic because the participants will come to this not only to deepen their understanding and gratitude and devotion regarding the great gift of God's mercy, but also they will attend with the understanding that they are being sent forth to preach the news of Divine Mercy. We all know, at least in a general sense, that the word apostle means "one who is sent." You might say that after having received the gift of Divine Mercy, we are called to make that gift our mission.

Mercy is the form in which we simple human beings, every one of us, experience God's love. Mercy is God's completely generous gift, and you and I are called to spread it.

The decision to convene a World Congress ultimately rests with the Holy Father himself, Pope Benedict. This fact alone demonstrates the centrality of Divine Mercy to the proclamation of the Gospel, to the celebration of the Mass and the sacraments, and to the spiritual journey of each person in Christ.

You can still sign up to attend the World Apostolic Congress on Mercy.


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