At the invitation of Pope Francis, Fr. Tom Orians, SA, traveled to Rome in April to concelebrate Mass with the Holy Father, along with other Missionaries of Mercy from around the world.
In addition to concelebrating Mass, the Missionaries of Mercy, whose original appointment was during the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, were invited to meet with Pope Francis for a few days in April for prayer, reflection and teaching on the important role they are filling for the Church.
Fr. Tom shared, “The Holy Father informed us ‘that the Christian path is an arduous one, with stones upon which to stumble and banana peels on which to slip.’ I will always remember what great mercy and love we are challenged to share in our journeys as Missionaries of Mercy. He told us, ‘the message that we bear in Christ’s name is that of making peace with God… God needs people to bring the message of his pardon and mercy to the world.’ I was awestruck by his words because they so reminded me of the charism of the community – “At-One-Ment.””
The Missionaries of Mercy have been extended special permission to absolve sins that would normally be reserved for the Holy See. Through the appointment and guidance of these missionaries, Pope Francis shows that forgiveness is truly the heart of Jesus Christ and His Church. The mercy extended through Fr. Tom and his fellow missionaries reminds us that God is always merciful, slow to anger and rich in love.
“As a Missionary of Mercy I am able to make Christ’s prayer ‘that all maybe one’ felt in a very real manner through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The Pope’s words were so refreshing and inspiring when he reminded us of our need to be like the father in the story of prodigal son. ‘Confessors need to look in the eyes of the penitent, listen to them, and throw open wide their arms to welcome them, so that they can experience the love of the Father.’”
At Graymoor, Fr. Tom ministers to the many men and women who attend the retreats and special events at the Graymoor Spiritual Life Center. He has learned to see each person individually and how to show each person, unconditional love.
His trip is a good reminder for all of us to practice the mercy and love of God through the actions of our daily lives. Jesus, we trust in you!