Missionaries of mercy

A few years ago, the Holy Father appointed Atonement Friar Father Tom Orians, SA, a Missionary of Mercy.

The Missionaries of Mercy are priests assigned by Pope Francis to hear confessions freely in every Diocese across the world. Their goal is to preach about the Lord’s merciful love, and to share that mercy with as many people as possible through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

This past April, Father Tom attended the third biennial gathering of the Missionaries of Mercy. The meeting took place at St. Meinrad’s Archabbey in Indiana. Father Tom was among 41 Missionaries who convened to reflect on Eucharist and Ministry through celebration of Mass, adoration, prayer, presentations, a mercy project and a concert.

The gathering began on Monday, April 24, with evening prayer led by Archbishop Charles Thompson of Indianapolis. Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, the Delegate for Catechesis in the Dicastery for Evangelization, reflected on the theme of Eucharist and Mercy as part of the meeting’s first day.

Following morning prayer on Tuesday, April 25, Bishop Franz-Peter celebrated Mass and the renewal of the priests’ mandate as Missionaries of Mercy. Three presentations came next, led by Father Stephan Kappler, a priest from the Diocese of Oakland. Father Stephan discussed personal, mental, physical and spiritual care among the Missionaries, before dinner and a concert were held. Emorja Roberson, DMA, an assistant professor of music and African American studies at Oxford College of Emory University, gave the concert, during which he offered thoughts on several African American spirituals.

Meinrad Archabbot Kurt Stasiak, OSB, provided input from his experiences celebrating and teaching reconciliation to students on Wednesday, April 26. Archabbot Stasiak has authored two books on the Sacrament of Penance, and discussed the importance of the confessor to offer experience of God’s mercy.

Bishop Andrew Cozzens of Crookston, coordinator of the Eucharistic Revival and coordinator of the 2024 National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis, also spoke to the Missionaries. He celebrated Mass before giving a presentation on the relationship between the Eucharist and mercy. Bishop Cozzens invited the Missionaries to hear confessions at next year’s Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis. Adoration, evening prayer, benediction and the Sacrament of Reconciliation followed.

Then, after dinner, the Missionaries packed several hundred “mercy bags,” which were care packages for flood and tornado victims in Kentucky.

The final day of the gathering, Thursday, April 27, featured Mass and a closing session. The Missionaries of Mercy decided a brief virtual meeting with take place next year. From March 29 to 31, 2025, the Missionaries will gather for their next in-person summit in Rome.

We are grateful Father Tom attended, and grateful for his work and ministry!

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