THE five-day World Apostolic Congress on Mercy (Wacom) opened on Monday, with more than 5,000 foreign and local delegates reflecting on the themes of mercy, compassion and the importance of human life against the backdrop of the government’s bloody war on illegal drugs that has claimed more than 6,000 lives.
“Basically there are killings, something like the absence of peace but what we are saying is that this is a very important situation wherein through our faith, we should not allow fears to reign but rather our love and devotion to God,” said Fr. Prospero Tenorio, Wacom Asia secretary general, in Filipino.
“This is an opportune time to show our love to the least of our brothers, to the poor who are in need, and to those who took the wrong path, that they be given the opportunity to show the beauty of life,” Tenorio added.
More than 5,000 foreign and local delegates from 40 countries arrived Monday for the opening Mass at the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, Manila.
The first Wacom was held in Rome, Italy in 2008, followed by Poland in 2011 and Bogota, Columbia in 2014.
The Philippines has surpassed the attendance of the last three conferences, with more than 5,000 delegates, compared with Italy and Poland that had 3,000 participants each and Colombia that had around 2,000, Tenorio said.
“Right now, based on the figures, we might reach the 6,000 mark,” the priest said.
The total 700 foreign delegates came from 40 countries, including the US, Malaysia, Singapore, Italy, France and Indonesia.
As for local archdioceses and dioceses, Davao topped the list, followed by Bacolod City and Bulacan.
Tenorio attributed the large number of Filipino participants to the well-organized structures of the 300 local dioceses, especially in the Visayas and Mindanao.