Fr Peter Zhang speaking to participants during the academic conference on Jan 17. Fr Peter Zhang speaking to participants during the academic conference on Jan 17.

An academic conference on the papal document, Misericordiae Vultus (The Face of Mercy), the official proclamation of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy issued by Pope Francis, was held in Mandarin on Jan 17.

It was organised by The Catholic Theological Institute of Singapore (CTIS).

The conference, held at the institute, was attended by about 90 faculty members, graduates, students and guests. It focused on topics relating to the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis.

Speakers at the conference were Frs Valerian Cheong, Peter Zhang and Kenson Koh. Mr Samuel Ng, CEO of Montfort Care, was also a speaker.

Each speaker explored the theme of mercy from various perspectives.

During his session, Fr Valerian, who had his sharing translated into Mandarin simultaneously, cited several scripture passages to explain the biblical understanding of mercy.

For example, in the Old Testament, Psalm 101 attributes mercy and justice to the Lord, and Psalm 145 says that His compassion is available to all who call on His name.

Fr Peter Zhang, interpreting Misericordiae Vultus, explained that Jesus Christ is the visible face of the Father’s mercy, to reveal the divine love of the Holy Trinity.

He also touched on other key topics such as the relationship between mercy and weakness, the dynamism between mercy and justice, mercy and confession, and mercy and indulgence.

Drawing on the Church’s teachings on mission and the new evangelisation, Fr Kenson offered insights and suggestions on how Catholics can put all that they have learnt about God’s love and mercy into practice. For instance, having personally experienced the tender mercy and forgiveness of the Lord, Catholics ought to share His mercy with others through words and deeds.

Mr Ng spoke on behalf of Caritas Singapore, an umbrella body of 24 Catholic charities and social service groups.

During the Jubilee Year, he mentioned that Caritas and its affiliates will journey towards a deeper experience of God’s mercy, responding to the call of Jesus to “be merciful just as your Father is merciful”.

The event concluded with a question-and-answer session.

Ms Wendy Oei, a CTIS Mandarin Diploma student, found the conference “enriching” and “soul-searching”. “[They] challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and expand my boundaries.” Ms Oei shared that while it may sound challenging, she has been inspired to “show and share [God’s] mercy till it hurts.”

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