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A Missionary of Mercy in Jerusalem

A Missionary of Mercy in Jerusalem


JERUSALEM – During the Mass of Ash Wednesday, Pope Francis sent out, 1,071 Missionaries of Mercy.  They come from around the world and have been sent out across the world to animate missions and initiatives related to the Jubilee Year, with special attention to the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  One of them, Father Raymond de Souza who arrived in Jerusalem last Sunday.

Father Raymond de Souza comes from Canada where he is Chaplain at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and a parish priest of Sacred Heart of Mary Parish. While he was in Jerusalem, three conferences were held in the Chapel of the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame Center on February 15, 16, 17, 2016.

The Blessed Sacrament is exposed for adoration, then Father de Souza reads the Gospel where Jesus manifests God’s mercy toward men and his desire to save them.  The Gospel readings and themes for the three nights were:  The Samaritan Woman:  Conversion and Mercy; The Man Born Blind: Judgment and Mercy; and Lazarus: Mercy, Discipleship and Decision.  The Blessed Sacrament remains exposed after the reflection on the Gospel for personal prayer, while Father de Souza hears confessions.

Through these three Gospels, Father de Souza proposes to retrace the path taken by the catechumen and to better understand how Mercy renews us in our identity as children of God. The one who is forgiven is called to become a missionary, like the Samaritan woman or the man born blind that after gaining his sight, to proclaim the wonders of the Lord.

As Missionaries of Mercy, priests receive from the Holy Father the authority to pardon  “even those sins reserved to the Holy See” [1].   These sins include: Violation or profanation of the Holy Eucharist (CIC 1367); Absolution of an accomplice in a sin against the sixth commandment (CIC 1378); Unauthorized ordination of a bishop, which penalty is incurred by both the ordaining bishop and by the bishop who is ordained (CIC 1382); Direct violation by a confessor of the seal of confession (CIC 1388); and physical violence on the Roman Pontiff (CIC 1370).  They will be, above all, living signs of the Father’s readiness to welcome those in search of his pardon.[2]

These” missions to the people” and prayer evenings are a concrete response to the request of the Holy Father wants these sent missionaries “to be persuasive preachers of mercy, heralds of joy and forgiveness.” [3].

Calixte Lauriers

[1], [2] and [3] Misericordiae Vultus, 18.