On Ash Wednesday at a Mass Pope Francis gave the mandate to the “Missionaries of Mercy.”

They number 1142 priests from all the Continents, and have been specially chosen to announce and witness to the Mercy of God in the confessional, in the name of the Pope.

At the ceremony itself 726 priests were present and among them were three of our Pallottine confreres, Frs. Steffen Bruhl (Sacred Heart Province, Germany-Austria), Andrzej Partika (Annunciation Province Poland) and Jozef Gruba (a member of the Warsaw Province ministering in the Czech Republic). The Holy Father exhorted them “Let your hands bless and uplift our brothers and sisters with paternal care: through you may the Fathers gaze and hands rest on his children and heal their wounds.”

In the Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, 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 men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all” (Rm 11:32). Everyone, in fact, without exception, is called to embrace the call to mercy. May these Missionaries live this call with the assurance that they can fix their eyes on Jesus, “the merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God” (Heb 2:17).  (Misericordiae Vultus, n. 18)