by NZ CATHOLIC staff
In February next year New Zealand will host the first ever Oceania regional congress for Divine Mercy — in The Year of Mercy.
One of the pencilled in keynote speakers, former satanist Zachary King, left, and another keynote speaker, Cardinal Patita Paini Mafi of Tonga.[/caption]This event, which presents the theme, “Walking in Love and Mercy”, will be held over nine days
from February 20-28 in Auckland at both St Patrick’s Cathedral, in the central city, and St Mary’s College, Ponsonby.
Officially known as Oceania Apostolic Congress on Mercy (OACOM), there will be a youth and adult focus, with the opening weekend of February 20-21 being the young people’s event and the closing weekend having a general admission. The intervening days will be spent on taking some of the keynote speakers out to Auckland diocese parishes.
According to Pat Barrett of Christchurch, this will be a major event for New Zealand during the
special year that the Pope has designated as The Year of Mercy.
“Undoubtedly, this period that the Church currently finds herself in is perhaps unprecedented in her history,”Mr Barrett said.
“The sheer numbers of martyrs alone testifiy to the challenges that lie ahead for all Christians and the urgent need to give and receive mercy, for a life without mercy is indeed a life without hope.”
St Faustina, in her diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul, one of the largest selling writings of Catholic mysticism, records words of Jesus, and St Faustina’s own thoughts, Mr Barrett pointed out.The congress will encourage those who attend to reflect on the attributes that Jesus and St Faustina speak about, through prayer, the sacraments, and works of mercy.
• For young people, Fr Andrew Grace from Australia will talk of his life as a young man who lived an immoral life, away from the Church, but who received the grace of mercy from Our Blessed Mother to begin his conversion. He is now a diocesan priest in New South Wales.
• Bishop Martin Uzoukwu of Minnadiocese in Nigeria is described as a powerful speaker from a country torn by religious terrorism, poverty, and injustice. However, he is said to be carrying
a message of hope through works of mercy and trust in God.
• Zachary King, who was a satanist for 26 years, will present his testimony of conversion through the Miraculous Medal and the urgent need to understand the methods the devil uses to
entice young people into the occult.
• Fr Patrice Chocholski, the Secretary General of the World Apostolic Congresson Mercy (WACOM) and rector of the International Shrine of Ars, France, and therefore the successor of St Jean-Marie Vianney, is said to be a gifted speaker who has a great insight into the workings of
Divine Mercy in the world today.
• John Canavan, the director of Divine Mercy Australia, will be the master of ceremonies. A former comedian, he is expected to bring joy to the congress as well as a powerful personal testimony.
• Archbishop Lui Mataeliga Alipati of Samoa, who is also the president of OACOM, will attend
and address the congress, as will Cardinal Patita Paina Mafi of Tonga, and Archbishop Peter Loy Chong of Fiji.
Mr Barrett said it is also hoped that two sisters from the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, the order that St Faustina belonged to, will attend.
“The last visit to New Zealand by the sisters in 2012 had all who met them wishing and praying they would never leave!” he said.
Mr Barrett said OACOM 2016 offers the grace to transform New Zealand, a nation that lies in the shadow of rampant secularism “that now pervades every structure, every nuance of our society, and grows stronger with every passing week”.
“Is it not now the imperative of every committed Catholic to confront this evil? But how to do so without mercy and love?” he asked.
More congress and registration information:www.divinemercycongressnz.com