Misericordia et Misera is Pope Francis’ apostolic letter released at the end of the Mercy Jubilee. One of the features of the Jubilee was the institution of “missionaries of mercy,” priests, presumably with a special mission to promote mercy in the Church. I have to say that in my corner of the world, we saw or heard none of them. I can think of a few people I’d like to nominate for the role. Most are lay persons. I’m not quite sure the Holy Father’s vision of this office extends beyond clergy, but I was intrigued by this section and the extension of this ministry into the future.
9. An experience of grace lived out by the Church with great effectiveness in the Jubilee Year has certainly been the service of the Missionaries of Mercy. Their pastoral activity sought to emphasize that God places no roadblocks in the way of those who seek him with a contrite heart, because he goes out to meet everyone like a father. I have received many testimonies of joy from those who encountered the Lord once more in the sacrament of Confession. Let us not miss the opportunity to live our faith also as an experience of reconciliation. Today too, the Apostle urges us: “Be reconciled to God” (2 Cor 5:20), so that all who believe can discover the power of love which makes us “a new creation” (2 Cor 5:17).
Not every experience of reconciliation is a sacramental one. Lay people are often better placed in the Church and amongst the people in the world to effect the witness of mercy than clergy. This is perhaps one Pope Francis initiative I believe is too timid and short-sighted.
I thank every Missionary of Mercy for this valuable service aimed at rendering effective the grace of forgiveness. This extraordinary ministry does not end with the closing of the Holy Door. 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. As a direct expression of my concern and proximity to the Missionaries of Mercy in this period, the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization will supervise them and find the most suitable forms for the exercise of this valuable ministry.
What do you make of the mercy mission being overseen from New Evangelization?