(Vatican Radio) The Jubilee of the Americas, or the "Celebration of Mercy in the American Continent", brought together various components of the church in the Americas to experience the merciful face of the Father.
Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, Religious, and lay people from Canada to the "Patagonia" were among the participants of the 27-30 August event in Bogotà, Colombia, which was organised by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and the Latin American Bishop's Conference (CELAM).
Several of the participants spoke to Vatican Radio to share their experience of the Jubilee of the Americas, including Cardinal Marc Ouellet, President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America; Cardinal Chibly Langlois of Ley Cayes, Haiti; Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa; and Vicki Thorn, foundress of Project Rachel.
Listen to the full interviews:
Cardinal Marc Ouellet
Reflecting on the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Cardinal Ouellet said he was "very grateful to God and to Pope Francis for this initiative of the Jubilee Year of Mercy".
Pope Francis sent a video message on Saturday for the opening of the event.
He said the Jubilee of the Americas was an opportunity to live the unifying power of mercy. "We have lived this continental celebration with all these people, and we have lived a very great fraternity. So we have experienced that, to practice mercy and to speak and share about mercy, it unites people of different cultures."
Cardinal Chibly Langlois
Haitian Cardinal Chibly Langlois of Ley Cayes said the Jubilee of the Americas was a great opportunity to "touch directly the reality of mercy".
He said, "We have to show the face of mercy, the face of Christ, the face of the mercy of God for us in many bad situations of Latin America and the Caribbean."
Archbishop Terrence Prendergast
The Archbishop of Ottawa, Terrence Prendergast, said he was "particularly moved" by the difficulties and struggles of the church in Latin America, as well as by "common problems that we have with migrants, people suffering from drug abuse, people struggling with addictions of one kind or another, and poverty".
Participants in the event visited several works of mercy in the city of Bogotà on Monday.
One of the works which they visited was the 'Outpatient Clinic of the Miraculous Medal' run by the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. Archbishop Prendergast said his visit to the Clinic was very poignant.
"One of the touching moments was when we were greeted by former drug addicts and people living on the street who told us how important it was that they receive, not only freedom from their addictions and a way of beginning a life anew, but also a spiritual dimension, which they value very much."
He said the outpatients and participants of the Jubilee event put on a drama play together to demonstrate their experiences of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The drama followed the plot of the Good Samaritan, and Archbishop Prendergast played a part as well.
"Among the people who walked by, we had not only the priest, but instead of the Levite we had a bishop. I played the bishop, and we got a good laugh out of that. But it tells us how important it is to be able to see the victims and the poverty and the challenges that they have, but then to draw near, to encounter, to touch, to be touched, and to have a healing relationship of support."
Vicki Thorn is the foundress of Project Rachel, a post-abortion reconciliation program, and the executive director of the National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
She said the "grace of this event is to bring together people from all the Americas and to have a real dialogue and exchange about the problems that we have in our culture, but [also] about how to bring the real vision of mercy, that Pope Francis talked about, to the world. Just the meeting of people and the exchange of ideas is an enormous gift and the opportunity to pray together."
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