FR. EDMUND NEIZER APPOINTED MISSIONARY OF MERCY BY POPE FRANCIS
On the 10 February 2016 at the Ash Wednesday Mass in St Peter’s Basilica, during the Jubilee Year of Mercy, the Holy Father, Pope Francis commissioned a group of priests from all over the world as “Missionaries of Mercy” in the presence of the relics of two Capuchin priests – Sts. Padre Pio and Leopold Mandic – both of whom were great confessors in their lifetime.
Among the priests commissioned was Fr. Edmund Neizer, a priest from the Archdiocese of Accra, Ghana, presently serving in the Archdiocese of Cardiff, Wales, as Parish Priest of Our Lady and St. Patrick, Maesteg and St. Robert, Aberkenfig.
Who are the Missionaries of Mercy?
The Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, Misericordiae Vultus number 18, describes The Missionaries of Mercy as a “sign of the Church’s maternal solicitude for the People of God, enabling them to enter the profound richness of this mystery so fundamental to the faith.”
The Characteristics of the Missionaries of Mercy are:
• a living sign of the Father’s readiness to welcome to all those in search of his forgiveness;
• facilitators for all, with no one excluded, of a truly human encounter, a source of liberation, rich with responsibility for overcoming obstacles and taking up the new life of Baptism again;
• guided by the words of the Apostle: “For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all” (Romans 11:32)
• inspiring preachers of Mercy;
• heralds of the joy of forgiveness;
• welcoming, loving, and compassionate Confessors, who are most especially attentive to the difficult situations of each person.”
As in the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, the Missionaries of Mercy, in this new phase, are to be available to Pastors, Rectors of Sanctuaries, and Diocesan Bishops to give missions to the people or facilitate events with particular attention to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the preaching on the Mystery of Divine Mercy. For ‘the breadth of their mandate to be even clearer’, the Holy Father has granted the Missionaries of Mercy the authority to pardon even those sins reserved to the Holy See. These Missionaries are appointed exclusively by the Holy Father and this faculty is given to each of them personally by him.
The faculties are limited to the absolution of the following sins which involves a censure reserved to the Apostolic See:
1. Profanation of the Eucharistic species by taking them away or keeping them for sacrilegious purpose.
2. Use of physical force against the Roman Pontiff
3. Absolution of an accomplice in a sin against the Sixth Commandment
4. Direct violation of the Sacramental Seal by a confessor
5. The recording by means of a technical device of what the priest or the penitent says in a Sacramental Confession or the divulgation of such a recording through the means of social communication.
At a meeting with Pope Francis, he told the Missionaries that they are, a “sign of special importance” which characterizes the Jubilee of Mercy and called specially to express the “maternal nature of the Church”. He charged them to have “an attitude of respect and encouragement” when they encounter penitents and to cover them with “a blanket of mercy” so that they can regain their dignity.
The Missionaries of Mercy are mandated by the Holy Father to be signs and instruments of God’s forgiveness; to help to open the doors of hearts, to overcome shame, not to avoid the light, and with their hands to bless and lift up brothers and sisters with paternity; that through them the gaze and the hands of God may rest on his children and heal them of their wounds!
In Misericordia et Misera, number 9, the Holy Father thanked “every Missionary of Mercy for this valuable service aimed at rendering effective the grace of forgiveness. This extraordinary ministry does not end with the closing of the Holy Door. 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.” As a direct expression of his concern and proximity to them, the Holy Father entrusted the supervision and direction of the ministry of the Missionaries of Mercy to the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.