African Pilgrims Urged “to intensify devotion to Divine Mercy” as World Congress Postponed

Official Logo 2020 World Apostolic Congress on Mercy.

Pilgrims from Africa who had planned to be part of the fifth World Apostolic Congress on Mercy (WACOM) in the Island nation of Samoa have been encouraged “to intensify” their devotion to the Divine Mercy in their respective contexts.

The six-day Congress, which had been scheduled to kick off 10 August has been postponed to August 2021 date due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“This postponement even though difficult doesn’t mean we should sit and relax.  Rather we have to intensify our devotion to the Divine Mercy Apostolate in our respective dioceses and parishes in Africa,” Bishop Martin Igwe Uzoukwu who is coordinating devotion to the Divine Mercy in Africa told ACI Africa Wednesday, August 12.

Bishop Uzoukwu added, “The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization at the Vatican, has postponed the Fifth World Apostolic Congress on Mercy due to the health concerns and travel restrictions in place at this time because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“We all need to go down on our knees and beg for the mercy of God for the whole world. This is the moment also for us to intensify our prayer and meditation on the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and harness it with the gifts of Mercy,” Bishop Uzoukwu who is the Local Ordinary of Nigeria’s Minna Diocese further said.


The postponement will also help “our pilgrims in Africa to prepare better for the World Apostolic Congress next year,” he told ACI Africa. 

In a statement addressed to the leadership of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) dated July 8, Bishop Uzoukwu provided the new date for the Congress.

“The Pontifical Council and the Archdiocese of Samoa-Apia have agreed to host the WACOM Event from Tuesday 10th to Sunday 15th August 2021 in Samoa-Apia Archdiocese,” Bishop Uzoukwu wrote in the July 8 statement obtained by ACI Africa.

In the August 12 interview with ACI Africa, the 69-year-old Nigerian Prelate recalled, “Last month I sent a letter to the SECAM secretariat in Accra Ghana. Through SECAM, we wanted to reach out to all our local churches in Africa to inform them of this postponement and emphasize the fact that pilgrims should not be discouraged because the world needs God’s Divine Mercy and intervention now more than ever before.”

Looking back to the last Congress and forward to the planned one, Bishop Uzoukwu regretted that “the number of people that will attend in Samoa might not be as huge as it was in the Philippines three years ago but we hope Africa will have delegates from all countries during the event to pray for healing in our continent and the world.”

More in Africa

WACOM is a worldwide religious event organized every three years since 2008 to promote the culture of mercy in the Catholic Church and all over the world. The first World Congress was held in Rome, Italy.

The fifth Congress is being organized under the theme, “Divine Mercy: The Ocean of Love that Envelops the Whole World.”

Reflecting on this theme within the context of COVID-19 pandemic, Bishop Uzoukwu told ACI Africa, “With this COVID-19 pandemic that has enveloped the whole world, let us use this opportunity of the postponement of the world congress to pray that the Mercy of God will swallow it and give us healing and a new life.”

“A lot of things have changed in our daily lives as a result of this pandemic. As apostles of Divine Mercy, we are to multiply acts of charity towards the needy. Whether we are Christians, Muslims or from whatever background humanity is one. You can see that this COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone. It does not discriminate between religion, tribe or nation,” the Bishop continued.

He went on to underscore the need for solidarity amid COVID-19 challenges saying, “We need to come together and share with one another. We need to stand together as one people to combat this disease.”


“In Africa, we are renowned for our solidarity and hospitality. These African values should be expressed to our fellow brothers and sisters who are suffering as a result of this pandemic,” the Nigerian Bishop told ACI Africa.

He encouraged all families in Africa “to have a small Divine Mercy altar in their homes, praying ceaselessly for the Lord to save our world.”

The Local Ordinary of Nigeria’s Minna Diocese implored pilgrims in Africa to “turn back to God like the sunflower that follows every movement of the sun.”

“Let us all fix our gaze on Jesus Christ, the Divine Mercy incarnate, let us all call on Him always. Let us also remember to pray for the Holy Father Pope Francis who is promoting the mercy of God,” Bishop Uzokwo concluded.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.