The 4th Africa and Madagascar Congress on Divine Mercy was held from 18th to 20th November 2019 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso on the theme: the Divine Mercy, a grace to our time. The Congress, which had about 900 delegates from various parts of Africa and the world, was hosted by Burkina-Niger Episcopal Conference.
Although composed of believers in their diversity, the Congress was mostly a gathering of Divine Mercy devotees. They had come together to celebrate the joy of brotherhood/sisterhood or communion under the umbrella of the Divine Mercy, and to seek together divine strength, so as to take up the different challenges currently facing Africa and Madagascar and the entire world.
The Archbishop of Ouagadougou who is at the same time, the current SECAM President, His Eminence Philippe Cardinal Ouédraogo, expressed the joy of his country, Burkina Faso to host the event [given], the violent attacks on the Church and the citizenry as a whole in recent times, notwithstanding. He indicated that the event gave hope to their country and it was an opportunity for the people of God in Africa to reflect on such challenges like poverty, war, terrorism, tribalism, bad governance, corruption and so on.
The Papal delegate to the Congress, Dieudonné Cardinal Nzapalainga, Archbishop of Bangui in Central African Republic, called upon the delegates to use the opportunity of the congress to pray and implore God’s mercy for the African continent so that God may end the on-going violence and bloodshed in many African countries.
Congresses on the Divine Mercy are usually organised to deepen the knowledge and the experience of the Divine Mercy, a mystery which is in the heart of the Christian revelation of the identity of God and which is a powerful leaven of transformation of human relationships and social structures. The first World Congress on the Divine Mercy was held in Rome in 2008. This idea is the fruit of the encyclical of St. Pope John Paul II « Dives in Misericordia » published in 1980.