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PENANG – This September, over one thousand Divine Mercy devotees are expected to flock to Penang for a much-anticipated Asian-level Apostolic Congress, with the theme: Experiencing Mercy through the Joy of the Gospel in Asia.
The 4th Asian Apostolic Congress on Mercy (AACOM), held for the first time in Malaysia, and organised once every three years will bring together notable speakers, faith-sharing, and testimonies; and a great fellowship of devotees from the Asian region. The Congress aims primarily, to strengthen and promote devotion to Divine Mercy all over Asia. Participants can also experience a deepening of faith and awareness of the Divine Mercy devotion
This year, from September 26 to 28, the event, hosted by the Penang Diocese, will be held at Setia SPICE Convention Centre, situated close to the Penang International Airport and boasting top-notch facilities to host an event of this nature.
The Penang Catholic community will be abuzz with the arrival of speakers which include Vatican representatives from the Pontifical Council for promoting New Evangelisation, Polish Sisters from the congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy — the congregation that St Faustina Kowalska once belonged to.
Also scheduled to speak is Father Seraphim Michaelenko, from the National Shrine of Divine Mercy Stockbridge, USA. He is also one of the postulators for the canonisation cause of St Faustina. Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes from Guam will also be speaking.
Representing the Asian side will include Bishop Ruperto Santos from the Philippines, Archbishop Anicetus Bongsu from Medan Indonesia, Father Simon Pereira from Singapore Redemptorists, Archbishop Simon Poh from Kuching and Bishop Sebastian Francis from Penang.
This Congress provides a golden opportunity for locals to listen in person to distinguished speakers, from across the globe, all gathered at one venue; saving on the costs of heavy airfares and the added time and effort of travelling out of the country.
Topics range from “Mercy in the life and writings of St Faustina” and also St John Paul II, to Mercy in the Youth Ministry.
Previous Congresses were held in the Philippines, Bangkok and Medan. The Congress also known as AACOM is an offshoot of WACOM or the World Apostolic Congress on Mercy also held once every three years, originating in Rome in 2008 and last held in the Philippines early last year.
An interesting aspect of this Asian Congress which is different from past congresses, will be the experiential factor added into the programme each day. Father Martin Arlando, the Parish Priest of the Church of Divine Mercy, in Sg Ara, is spearheading the organisation and planning for the Congress. He explained, “We want participants to not only listen and learn from the talks each day but also to get involved through hands-on, sensory and spiritually-uplifting experiences.”
“So, we will have a Procession, Penitential service with confessions and also a CDM experience at our church, incorporating a “Walk of Mercy, reflecting on the works of Mercy” and other engaging activities. Spot quizzes after presentations with giveaways, are planned to help participants re-cap themes and add an element of fun and interaction,” added Fr Martin.
This Congress will provide a unique opportunity to foster fellowship among the participants from all over Asia and the chance to discover how devotees in other Asian countries grow their faith. Entertainment from both local hosts and also the various country representatives will provide a multi-cultural flavour and add a dash of fun and colour.
Large groups are expected from the Philippines, Indonesia, East Malaysia and other Asian countries. Anyone interested to register for the three-day event can log on to the CDM website at www.cdm.my/4th-asian-apostolic-congress-on-mercy/ for details. The official closing date for registration is July 31. – Herald Malaysia