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Pope Names Two Athenaeum Priests 'Missionaries of Mercy' 1/14/2016

Pope Francis will commission 800 priests worldwide to be Missionaries of Mercy during the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, including two priests with key roles at the Athenaeum.

Father Anthony Brausch, who serves as Vice Rector and Director of Formation for Mount St. Mary’s Seminary and Director of the Permanent Deacon Program, and Father Earl Fernandes, who serves as Dean of the Athenaeum and Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, will fly to Rome in February to be commissioned as Missionaries of Mercy by the pope.

“It’s a great honor to be able to serve the Church in this way. I am also excited because during our time in Rome, there will be veneration of the relics of two great confessors and saints: Padre Pio and Leopold Mandic.  Saint Leopold was a Capuchin Friar from Croatia who famously said, ‘Be at peace; place everything on my shoulders. I give my penitents only small penances because I do the rest myself.’ I hope and pray that these great saints will help Fr. Brausch and me by their example and by their prayers,” said Fr. Fernandes.  

Pope Francis will personally welcome the priests on February 9 and is expected to speak of the role he is asking them to undertake through initiatives organized for the Jubilee, specifically preaching and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  The following day, Ash Wednesday, the pope will confer the mandate during a concelebrated Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. 

Of the 800 priests selected to be Missionaries of Mercy, 100 are from the United States. The selection process included some priests who applied to become Missionaries of Mercy, while others were recommended by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization. All chosen were approved by their bishops.

“The Holy Father’s point, obviously, isn’t that the priests who have been given this title are the only priests who are ‘missionaries of mercy’. In fact all Christians are missionaries of God’s mercy. But, the Holy Father does want to emphasize that God’s mercy is made especially present in the Sacraments instituted by God’s own son. In this sense, all priests are missionaries of God’s mercy celebrated through the sacraments. I think the Holy Father’s idea behind designating certain priests with this title is to highlight the other two realities,” said Fr. Brausch.

Congratulations to Frs. Brausch and Fernandes! 

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