" That chosen 'Ark' of salvation, free from the common shipwreck of sin. "
St. Alphonsus Liguori
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Fr McManus CSsR and Pope Francis...

Missionaries of Mercy

During the Holy Year of Mercy, on Ash Wednesday 2016, Pope Francis commissioned 900 priests from around the world to be Missionaries of Mercy. They were recommended by their bishops or their Provincials or Generals. He shared with us his own faculties for celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation and encouraged us to make the mercy of God known to the whole Church and the world.

mcmanus cssr3

The Missionaries of Mercy were invited back to Rome to concelebrate Mass with the Holy Father on the feast of Divine Mercy, the  Sunday after Easter and to have a  three day conference on the Mercy of God in the Vatican. Pope Francis spent the morning of 10 April with us. He gave us a very moving  talk on how we as Missionaries of Mercy should witness to the Mercy of God the Father in all circumstances.  He reminded us of the mandate he had entrusted to us with these words: “We must acknowledge that God’s mercy knows no bounds, and with your ministry, you are a concrete sign that the Church cannot, must not and does not wish to create any barrier or difficulty that may hinder access to the Father’s forgiveness. The “prodigal son” did not have to pass through customs: he was welcomed by the Father, without obstacles”.

Immediately after  the Holy Father’s  talk, as a sign of his  gratitude to all the Missionaries of Mercy, we were invited to come forward,  one by one, greet the Pope,  and he shook hands with each of us. We will cherish that moment of closeness to Pope Francis for the rest of our lives. 

We had the privilege of concelebrating Mass again with the Holy Father in St. Peter’s immediately of the morning session.  As we left the Basilica on our way to lunch  each of us received a beautiful gift from the Holy Father, a copper relief of the return of the Prodigal son being embraced by his father with the Latin inscription Pater, peccavi in coelum and coram te,  Father I have sinned against  heaven and against you. This relief is of the Holy Door in St. Peter’s.

We were all most grateful to Pope Francis, not just for his wonderful teaching and his gift but,  most of all,  for the three hours which he spent with us. We knew that a great saint was in our midst.