(Vatican Radio) “The Year of Mercy has touched people very deeply with their hearts and I’m not only talking about Catholics, I’m talking about other Christian denominations and even people of other faiths.” That’s according to Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town, South Africa whose Archdiocese has been promoting a number of events to celebrate the Holy Year of Mercy.
Listen to Lydia O'Kane's interview with Archbishop Stephen Brislin
Ecumenism and Mercy
He says, “It’s quite amazing that when I attend ecumenical meetings, so many speakers whether protestant or whether Muslim or Hindu often refer to the Year of Mercy and many of them quote Pope Francis…”
Archbishop Brislin says that in his Archdiocese they have put their emphasis on getting parishes to get involved in doing acts of mercy in various different ways. This year in particular, he adds, the focus has been on “giving space to people who are involved in prison ministry and the work that they do…”
Racism and Dialogue
For many years people in South Africa suffered under the system of Apartheid and although racial discrimination has been taken off the statute book, the country continues to battle with racism. Asked if the Year of Mercy and the Church has been able to help with this problem, the Archbishop says that a number of organizations and the Bishops’ conference has taken up the issue adding, “we’re looking at different programmes that can be practically implemented in parishes to try and get people together to talk and to share their stories; their experiences if you like in the non-threatening environment, in a safe environment.”
As this Jubilee year draws to a close, Archbishop Brislin stresses that “the Year of Mercy shouldn’t just be about certain actions that we do, then we forget about them in the future, but it should really try to transform our communities into being close knit communities where people really take responsibility to reach out to those who are suffering in whatever way.”