Cardinal Tagle expects 'explosion of mercy' at evangelization meet

Next week's Philippine Conference on New Evangelization could be dangerous, he says
Cardinal Tagle expects 'explosion of mercy' at evangelization meet

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila opens the first Philippine Conference on New Evangelization in 2013. (Photo by Vincent Go)

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila expects an "explosion of mercy" when the third Philippine Conference on New Evangelization (PCNE) opens next week.

The prelate said the meeting, which will take place halfway through the Catholic Church's observance of the Year of Mercy, could be "dangerous because it will confront facts."

"We talk about mercy, we proclaim mercy, but is our evangelizing mode, spirit and action, all the structures that accompany them, are they bearers of mercy?" said Cardinal Tagle.

He lamented the violence that has gripped the world in the past weeks, including the bombings in Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq and how much the world is in need of mercy and compassion. 

This year's PCNE, which is part of the Vatican's official activity this year, carries the theme "Awa, Unawa, Gawa: The Filipino Experience of Mercy."

"Awa, unawa, gawa" are Filipino words for "mercy, understanding, and action."

Cardinal Tagle sees the conference as a way of going deeper into mercy through the sharing of stories and people's experiences of mercy.

The three-day gathering, which will be held at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila starting July 15, will also involve talks that delve on the issue of mercy among various sectors of society and communities. 

Father Jason Laguerta, director of the Office for the Promotion of the New Evangelization of the Archdiocese of Manila, said the challenge is how to promote the "culture of life and mercy" especially in the context of killings and the violation of people's rights.

"That's what this conference is about, to remind all of us that we should not compromise the quality of mercy in our relationships," said Father Laguerta. He said the conference will "try to go deeper into that aspect of our life as Filipinos."

The first PCNE drew over 7,000 participants and volunteers from around the country and abroad in 2013. Cardinal Tagle dubbed the conference a "humble contribution to the search of the whole church for ways to pursue new evangelization."

It was in the first PCNE when Pope Francis first spoke in English in a public address when he urged Filipinos and Asia's Catholics to continue spreading the Gospel and not to get tired of helping people, especially the poor.

"Don't get tired of bringing the mercy of the Father to the poor, the sick, the abandoned, the young people and the family," the pontiff said.

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