Portrait of Missionaries of Mercy in Rome.
From left to right, Father Dave Caron, O.P., Father Bernard Olszewski, Monsignor Ted Bertagni, Father Eloy Romero-Rojas, Father John Fischer and Father Tim O’Toole — Cross Catholic Outreach’s six Missionaries of Mercy during their 2022 visit to Rome.

Missionaries of Mercy Encouraged During Visit With Pope Francis

In 2016, Pope Francis commissioned over 1,000 priests to serve as ambassadors of God’s mercy. Cross Catholic Outreach is blessed that six of our outreach priests — based on their lives of prayer, deep faith and dedication to helping others — were included in this commissioning and now serve as Missionaries of Mercy. Through their work, they bring the love and compassion of God to the people they serve, which is complimentary to the work they do at Cross Catholic Outreach: taking the cries of the poor in the developing world to faithful Catholics in the United States and stirring hearts to share their blessings with the needy.

In April 2022, these Missionaries of Mercy for Cross Catholic Outreach once again traveled to Rome to meet with Pope Francis and their brothers serving alongside them in this special ministry.

Commenting on the gathering, Msgr. Ted Bertagni said, “Pope Francis instructed the Missionaries of Mercy to show a father’s compassion and not be critical when sharing their journey of faith with penitents. His own personal sense of unconditional love for all who seek the Lord’s mercy was very impactful for me and all of my brother missionaries.”

Also traveling with the group was Fr. Bernard Olszewski, who reflected, “While Pope Francis originally envisioned this ministry of mercy as a component of the Jubilee Year of Mercy alone, he discovered the power of this grace through the stories told by the Missionaries of Mercy throughout the world.

“Because of this, Pope Francis instituted this ministry as a permanent part of the work of the Church in the midst of a world in desperate need of the healing presence of God’s love and mercy. In his address to the Missionaries of Mercy at their gathering with him in Rome in 2022, he implored the priests to go out to the world and wrap the people of God in the mantle of God’s mercy. 

“The power of the Sacrament of Reconciliation is an ongoing miracle, and it is a true privilege to be a part of this group of men who are empowered to bring God’s love to his people in a most special manner. The travel to parishes across the U.S. to preach on behalf of the poor gives me a unique opportunity to bring this mercy and healing to parishes in which I would not have otherwise found myself. It is a true grace and blessing.”