I have been a Missionaries of Mercy since 2016, the Jubilee Year of Mercy. There are close to 1000 priests around the world serving in this apostolate. Here in our Diocese of Colorado Springs, Fr. Andre Szczesnowicz, Fr Frank Quezada, and I serve in this ministry.
In his Apostolic letter “Misericordia et Mísera - Mercy and Misery,” Pope Francis extended our faculties beyond the Jubilee Year of Mercy 2016 as “a concrete sign that the grace of the
Jubilee remains alive and effective the world over” (MM 9).
In his most recent Apostolic Constitution “Praedicate evangelium—Preach the Gospel” which seeks to reform the organization of the Vatican, Pope Francis makes special mention of the Missionaries of Mercy: “Evangelization is carried out in particular through the proclamation of divine mercy, through multiple ways and expressions. To this end, the specific action of the Missionaries of Mercy contributes in a particular way, for whom the Section (on Evangelization) promotes and supports formation and offers criteria for pastoral action” (PE 59 § 2).
The Missionaries of Mercy have been commissioned by the Holy Father to “hear confessions, and preach on behalf of and promote the Sacrament of Reconciliation.” In addition, they have the authority, granted by the Holy
Father, to pardon these sins reserved to the Holy See:
•Profaning the Eucharistic species by taking them away or keeping them for a sacrilegious purpose;
•Use of physical force against the Roman Pontiff;
•Absolution of an accomplice in a sin against the Sixth Commandment;
•A direct violation against the sacramental seal by a confessor.
•The recording by means of a technical device of what the priest or the penitent says in a Sacramental Confession (whether real or simulated), or the divulgation of such a recording through the means of social communication.
Pope Francis wrote, “They will be missionaries of mercy because they will be facilitators of a truly human encounter, a source of liberation, rich with responsibility for overcoming obstacles and taking up the new life of baptism again. They will be led in their mission by the words of the apostle, ‘For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all’ (Romans 11: 32).”
I have focused especially on welcoming home anyone who has left the church. I have met with so many people who were hurt, confused, or abandoned due to the abuse crisis in the church, poor pastoral responses, and other reasons —- all very painful. So many are coming back to the Lord and His Church! Thanks be to God! If you, or someone you know, would like to talk about anything like this, please let me know. God’s mercy endures forever!
Thanks to everyone who was so kind to support my travels to Rome and Assisi. Delta Airlines provided complimentary round-trip airfare. I stayed at the Domus Paulus VI in Rome for only 70 euros a night! My only expense was transportation to and from the airport and meals. During my time, I had an opportunity to share stories of mercy that I have been part of during the past few years. Other Missionaries talked about their challenges and triumphs during the pandemic. Missionaries from the Ukraine shared their painful stories of serving during the war. We were inspired by talks by Pope Francis, Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa, Archbishop Reno Fisichella, and others.
Check out our national website for more information:www.missionariesormercyusa.org
Next week, I will share with you my trip to Assisi where I brought your prayers to the tomb of our patron, Saint Francis.
Rev. Mark Zacker
Fr Andre (Pastor of Pax Christi) and I preparing for Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday.
Pope Francis delivering his homily.
Missionaries of Mercy from the Ukraine sharing their experiences of ministry during the war.
Cardinal Cantalemessa inspires us with his talk on Divine Mercy.