Today, at the Holy See’s press office, the Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, announced the details of the first World Apostolic Congress on Divine Mercy, which will coincide with the anniversary of the death of the Servant of God, Pope John Paul II.
The event will take place in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican from April 2-6, 2008. It is a good sign, said Cardinal Schönborn, that the first world congress on mercy should open on April 2, third anniversary of the death of John Paul II, because “the congress in Rome must clearly show that mercy is the central core of the Christian message,” the cardinal said. “This message promotes peace in the world, between peoples and religions. It helps people to discover the true face of God, but also the true face of man and of the Church.”
St. Faustina was canonized by John Paul II on April 30, 2000; on that same day he also established the second Sunday of Easter as the Feast of Divine Mercy.
The archbishop recalled how during St. Faustina’s life (1905-1938) the message of divine mercy was “a special support and an inexhaustible source of hope ... for all the Polish people. This message is more necessary than ever in our own times, as the daily news constantly confirms.”
“In 2004 John Paul II appealed to the entire Church to be a ‘witness to mercy,’” said the cardinal. "While at the Regina Coeli prayer on April 3, 2005 he would have said: ‘Love changes hearts and brings peace. How great is the need for mercy in the world’. Death prevented that great Pope from pronouncing those words, but the message has lost none of its validity or relevance.”
Cardinal Schönborn concluded: “The message of John Paul II and of Faustina Kowalska is not some abstract principle, it has a name and a face: Jesus. ... ‘Looking to Christ', that is the heritage of John Paul II, it was also the theme of Benedict XVI's visit to Austria last year, and will be the nucleus of the First World Apostolic Congress on Mercy.”