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Int'l delegates of Mercy Congress visit shelters, orphanages

BULACAN, Philippines – International delegates of the World Apostolic Congress on Mercy (WACOM) visited orphanages and shelters as "Places of Mercy" on Thursday, January 19, to mark the 4th day of this Catholic summit. 

Up to 740 international delegates of WACOM visited 15 different Places of Mercy in Bulacan on Thursday. 

One of these, Galilee Homes, is a rehabilitation center for former drug addicts and other young people once mired in vices.

Another is Bethany House Santo Niño Orphanage in Guiguinto, Bulacan, which cares for abandoned children up to 12 years old. 

Father Jean Paul Mbekam, a WACOM delegate from Cameroon, said that the importance of Thursday's visits "is, first of all, to acknowledge the fact that God's children are not alone."

Visiting Bethany House, Mbekam added that this shows that "there are always" people to take care of the neglected.

Meanwhile, a number of delegates from Southeast Asia visited Bahay Pangarap, a shelter for abused children aged 13 to 21 in Bulacan.

Maria Luisa Sarci, a teacher and administrator at Bahay Pangarap, appealed for "mercy and compassion" for their wards.

"'Yun po talaga 'yung pinaka-need nila, 'yung habag, 'yung awa na nanggagaling po sa mga tao, kasi sila po ay nalalayo sa kanilang pamilya," Sarci said. (That's what they need the most – the mercy that comes from people, because they're far away from their families.)

WACOM is a 5-day gathering of around 5,000 devotees of the Divine Mercy, which the Philippines is hosting this year. 

The summit tackled a broad range of issues related to mercy, including the recent killings in the Philippines. (READ: Lipa archbishop: 'Christ embraces the miserable') – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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