Today at Saint Mirin’s Cathedral in the Diocese of Paisley, Scotland, the 3rd National Divine Mercy Conference took place, organised by the Friends of Divine Mercy Scotland, an event which seems to gather strength and numbers from year to year. The theme this year was “For you, Lord, are good and ready to forgive, and plenteous in Mercy to all them that call on you” – taken from Psalm 86.
The day began early with an introductory presentation from Fr Ross Campbell, Chaplain at Glasgow University and appointed as a Missionary of Mercy by our Holy Father, Pope Francis, for the Year of Mercy. He spoke about the works of mercy, presenting these as an answer to some of the deeper existential questions of life, particularly those questions posed by people of no faith, or for whom faith is deemed (by them) to be simply irrelevant.
Following this, the first set of workshops began, encompassing subjects as diverse as ‘Mercy for the unborn’, ‘the Holy Eucharist’, ‘Mercy in the text of the Mass’ and ‘the Sacrament of Reconciliation’.
After lunch, a very inspiring talk was given by Fr. Piotr Prusakiewicz of the Congregation of St Michael Archangel. Between 1993 and 1996, Fr Piotr was also Chaplain at the Convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Warsaw, the convent where St Faustina began her religious life. Fr Piotr is something of an expert on this Saint of our times and was privileged to know a number of the Sisters who had known St Faustina in life. Fr Piotr had brought a first class Relic of St Faustina, with which he individually blessed those present. He is pictured in the main image holding this Relic.
Then the second set of workshops began, covering ‘A Pedagogy of Mercy’, ‘Our Lady, Mother of Mercy’ and ‘following in the footsteps of St John Paul II’ – an appropriate presentation, as today is the feast of St John Paul, who was mentioned regularly throughout the day.
Once the workshops had concluded, the participants moved over to the Cathedral itself, where there was the opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, followed by Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Benediction. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy was sung at this point and the Image of the Merciful Jesus was venerated by all present.
The highpoint and conclusion of the Conference was the celebration of Mass in the Cathedral, the principal celebrant being Bishop John Keenan of the Diocese of Paisley. He is a long-time friend of Divine Mercy and speaks very inspiringly on the subject. Today, he spoke about the Extraordinary Year of Mercy, and how Divine Mercy offers a solution to all of the world’s problems, if only we would realise this and accept what is offered to us by God. He noted how greatly the world needs Divine Mercy just now.
It was a very full day, with a great deal of solid information being presented well, and also the opportunity to buy books which are not always easily available. It also provided a good opportunity to network with others.