Pope Francis has tapped six Filipino priests to join a global initiative anchored on a special mission: to spread the works of mercy to the world.
Named as new “missionaries of mercy” are Fr. Allan Morris Abuan, Fr. Danille Chad Pecson, Fr. Matt Jason Molina, and Fr. Roy Joel Rosal from the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan. The Holy Pontiff also called on Fr. Prospero Tenorio and Fr. Nap Baltazar, both from the Malolos diocese, to show God’s mercy to the people. (Read: Vatican Applauds ‘Diocese of Maasin’ for Renewable Energy Efforts)
The missionaries of mercy have a special mandate to make themselves available to administer reconciliation through the sacrament of Confession. Every year, more and more priests from around the world are being called upon by Pope Francis to be part of this mission. The initiative started from the Jubilee of Mercy celebrations from December 2015 to November 2016 wherein Lolo Kiko has tapped almost a thousand priests to join the cause. (Read: 3 Ways Caritas PH Is Giving Support to Filipinos in Need)
Each priest under the missionaries of mercy has a special authority to pardon sins that carry penalties that only the Vatican can lift, such as an attempt against the life of the pope or when a priest violates the seal of confession. They also have the power to forgive abortion—an ability that was previously reserved for bishops or special confessors.
“The Church wants to bring the grace of forgiveness to everyone,” said Franciscan Fr. Jerome Ponce, also a missionary of mercy. (Read: A Prayer for Personal Forgiveness)
Filipino missionaries have been relentlessly offering an avenue for mercy through their daily ministries, including talks and retreats in and outside the country.
However, their primary role is to help people who are falling away from their faith and are finding its teachings irrelevant.
“During the conclusion of the Jubilee of Mercy, in an apostolic letter, Pope Francis praised the many fruits of the efforts of the missionaries of mercy around the world and extended the mandate indefinitely so as to continue the ‘concrete sign that the grace of the Jubilee remains alive and effective the world over,” Fr. Ponce said.
The other missionaries of mercy in the Philippines are Franciscan priests Andrew Litigio, Joe Litigio, Robert Manansala, Andres Rañoa, Fr. Jose Lito Escote of the Antique diocese, and Davao City-based Fr. Darek Drzewiecki of the Congregation of the Marian Fathers.