“Missionaries of mercy” meet in Rome with the Pope

Alice Topno

The Pope Francis welcomes the Missionaries of Mercy from around the world in the Paul VI Audience Hall on Monday, 25 April 2022. He called them back to Rome to meet, pray and share their experiences over this Divine Mercy Sunday weekend as well as a way to renew their ministry of being instruments of God’s mercy.

 There were around 300 Missionaries of Mercy from across the world are gathered in Rome for the Third international meeting of the Missionaries of Mercy, organized by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization. The pandemic caused them to be postponed until health safety circumstances permitted. It was scheduled one year ago.

 Pope Francis established the Missionaries of Mercy in 2015, papal bull ‘Misericordiae vultus’ proclaiming the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, which ended in November 2016.  He decided to prolong their service given the many testimonies of conversion attributed to their special ministry.

The Missionaries of Mercy offer a special ministry of outreach, hearing confessions and finding new ways to proclaim, express and bring God’s mercy to all. They also have special faculties to give absolution to serious sins that ordinarily would require consultation and permission from the local bishop or the Holy See.

The Pope gave then the example of Ruth who had very difficult life, suffering as a poor widow and foreigner; in spite of these problems she showed her love, loyalty, generosity and mercy in her service to Naomi and others. The Pope invited all the missionaries of mercy to discern the presence of God in people’s lives also to have “forgiveness in pocket”. He called them to look into the heart of a person, always be ready to show God’s mercy and be the mercy and consolation for all people, where the desire is hidden, and the longing to return to the Father and to his house. He added for emphasis to forgive always.

The round table interview was taken of  Msgr. Ted Bertagni, Fr. Bernard Olszewski, and Fr. David Caron, OP. They share the experience of being the part of the Missionaries of mercy. “I think every Missionary of Mercy has had the opportunity of a miraculous encounter –said Fr. Olszewski–, one which in human terms could not be explained as to why this person came to confession at this time with this priest. And it has been extremely powerful”.

Fr. Caron emphasises about the ministry of  feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, giving place those without homes, and visiting the imprisoned. Fr. David said that in  an era  “where fewer and fewer people are going to church, Missionaries of Mercy as men of hospitality and welcome, can serve as evangelizing agents for the Church”.

The Pope expressed his gratitude for their good works and encouraged them: “This extraordinary ministry does not end with the closing of the Holy Door”, said the Pope. “I wish it to continue until further notice as a concrete sign that the grace of the Jubilee remains alive and effective the world over”.