His Holiness Pope Francis appointed Friar Marius-Petru BÎLHA a “Missionary of Mercy,” by decree, on April 21, 2020. Friar Marius-Petru is a member of the Province of St. Joseph, Spouse of the B.V.M. in Romania, where he has been serving as the Rector of the clerical student community in Roman.
Along with the Holy Father’s Decree, there was a letter signed by the Most Reverend Archbishop Rino FISICHELLA, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization. He wrote, “the widespread appreciation of spiritual fruits generated by the service of the Missionaries of Mercy during the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy (2015-2016) led Pope Francis to extend this pastoral activity—an expression of Divine Mercy and the concern of the Church—until further notice as “a concrete sign that the grace of the Jubilee remains alive and effective the world over” (Pope Francis, Misericordia et Misera n. 9).
In this sensitive service, a Missionary of Mercy is asked to make himself available to pastors, rectors of shrines and diocesan bishops, to animate missions to the people and other initiatives which refer particularly to the celebration of the sacrament of Reconciliation and to preaching the mystery of Divine Mercy, especially during the “strong seasons” of the liturgical year [Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter]. He is asked to become an active promoter of the pastoral activities of the Missionaries of Mercy, urging that such events be organized.
Furthermore, the Pope suggests that all of the confessors adopt a certain approach, namely, that they “be welcoming to all, witnesses of fatherly tenderness whatever the gravity of the sin involved, attentive in helping penitents to reflect on the wrong they have done, clear in presenting moral principles, willing to walk patiently beside the faithful on their penitential journey, far-sighted in discerning individual cases and generous in dispensing God’s forgiveness” […], [they] “should be open-hearted” (Misericordia et Misera 10).
Finally, one should add that the faculties granted to the Missionaries of Mercy allow them to absolve certain sins which involve a censure reserved to the Apostolic See.
The Minister Provincial of Romania, Friar Teofil PETRIȘOR, will deliver the decree of “Missionary of Mercy” to Friar Marius-Petru during a solemn celebration to be held on June 7, 2020, in the chapel of the Franciscan Theological Institute in Roman.
We congratulate Friar Marius-Petru for this extraordinary service that the Church is conferring upon him. Let us pray for him that he may be an instrument of Divine Mercy for the people of God!
Friar Virgil BLAJ, Provincial Secretary