Catholic World News

Upcoming Jubilee events: veneration of relics of Padre Pio, commissioning of Missionaries of Mercy

January 29, 2016

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the president of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, outlined two important initiatives for the Jubilee Year of Mercy during a Vatican press conference on January 29: the formation of the Missionaries of Mercy and the temporary display in Rome of relics of Padre Pio and St. Leopold Mandic.

The archbishop reported that in the first two months of the Year of Mercy, more than 1.3 million people have participated in Jubilee events, with 40% of those joining in the events in Rome coming from other countries. While numbers cannot tell the true story about a spiritual initiative, he said, the popular response suggests that the Jubilee Year answers “a true need of the people of God who are receiving this event of grace with great joy and enthusiasm.”

On February 3, Archbishop Fisichella announced, relics of St. Pio of Pietrelcina (popularly known as Padre Pio) and of St. Leopold Mandic, a 19th-century Capuchin, will be brought to Rome. They will be exposed for veneration by the faithful in the church of San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura the following day, then in the Jubilee church of San Salvatore in Lauro, and finally in St. Peter’s Basilica, where they will remain until February 11.

On Ash Wednesday, February 10, Pope Francis will give a formal mandate to the Missionaries of Mercy, the archbishop continued. He explained that the Missionaries will be “a select number of priests who have received from the Pope the charge to be privileged witnesses in their respective churches,” with authority to absolve sins that are ordinarily reserved.

Over one thousand priests have been selected by the Pontiff to serve as Missionaries of Mercy, the archbishop reported. They include priests from all of the world’s continents, including priests for the Eastern Catholic churches. All have received permission from their bishops or religious superiors to engage in this special ministry.

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