In the Gospel, Jesus would regularly huddle the apostles after they had returned from the journeys on which he had sent them out to preach and heal, so that they might report all they had done and taught (Mark 6:30-31).
Something similar happened in Lexington, Kentucky, Jan. 21-23, as the Missionaries of Mercy from the U.S. and Canada convened, in a spirit of prayer and fraternity, to speak with the Lord and each other about the fruits and challenges of four years of work witnessing to the Gospel of mercy.
Missionaries of Mercy, you may recall, were appointed by Pope Francis during the Jubilee of Mercy in 2016 as a conspicuous sign of “God the Father’s readiness to welcome those in search of his pardon” and the “Church’s maternal solicitude for the People of God.” More than 1,100 priests from around the world were given a special mandate to be “persuasive preachers of mercy,” to commit themselves in a particular way to hearing confessions with the “authority to pardon even those sins reserved to the Holy See,” and to serve as “personal witnesses of God’s closeness and of his way of loving.”
Their mandate was supposed to expire on the last day of the Jubilee, but in the document Pope Francis published for that occasion, he wrote:
“This extraordinary ministry … I wish it to continue until further notice as a concrete sign that the grace of the Jubilee remains alive and effective the world over.” ….