Letter of the General Minister
Br Mauro Jöhri OFMCap
Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy
23 September 2015
To all the brothers of the Order
Their respective places
May the Lord give you peace!
First of all I have some wonderful news to give you: On February 9, 2016 Pope Francis will celebrate Holy Mass in St. Peter’s with and for us Capuchins. I will look forward to having many of you in Rome for this event! But first of all I think it appropriate to tell you how things have gone and what is the context that has made this possible.
As I imagine all of you already know, Pope Francis has called an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. This choice comes from the awareness that “the Church is commissioned to announce the mercy of God, the beating heart of the Gospel, which in its own way must penetrate the heart and mind of every person. […] It is absolutely essential for the Church and for the credibility of her message that she herself live and testify to mercy. Her language and her gestures must transmit mercy, so as to touch the hearts of all people and inspire them once more to find the road that leads to the Father.” (Bull of Indiction, 12) The Holy Year will begin on December 8, 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and will conclude with the liturgical solemnity of Christ the King on November 20, 2016.
The beginning of the Lent of 2016 will represent a particular moment, when the Pope sends the Missionaries of Mercy. For this event the Holy Father has asked us Capuchins to bring to St. Peter’s the relics of two among our saints that are most distinguished for service in the confessional: St. Leopold Mandić and St. Pio of Pietrelcina. They are two icons of life given in an unconditional way to the service of announcing the divine mercy. The request of the Pope honors us very much and will be from this moment on a strong invitation to dedicate ourselves with renewed commitment to this ministry both in our churches and in the places to which we are called for this service.
It is just in the context of this event that I ventured to ask Pope Francis about the possibility of celebrating a Mass with us Capuchins and to offer us his message. And the Pope said yes. Let us rejoice in this! I will look forward to seeing many of you on the morning of February 9, 2016, at 7 a.m., for this celebration in St. Peter’s. We shall have to organize ourselves in order to arrive in Rome perhaps a day early and do what we have to do to arrive on time for this appointment. All of this will be communicated to you separately. I ask the Ministers to organize everything in good time.
Bishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, has been charged by the Holy Father with the organization of the various events and it was him who asked us to make available a good number of Missionaries of Mercy. What will be their task? They will make themselves available for confessions and for preaching on the theme of mercy within the dioceses in which they live. Those sought will be confessors full of understanding and who carry out this service willingly. Hopefully they can come to Rome to participate in the teaching that the Pope intends to give them on the morning of the same day he will celebrate the Mass for us and then the next day when the Holy Father himself sends them in mission. I hope that the European circumscriptions, especially the Italian ones, will designate at least two friars each for this purpose. I ask the Ministers to communicate their names to the General Curia by October 20, 2015 so that these can be then given to Bishop Fisichella.
The relics of Ss. Leopold and Pio will reach Rome on February 1, 2016 and will remain until February 4 at San Lorenzo al Verano, the basilica at which the Capuchin brothers of the Roman Province officiate. We will celebrate a solemn vigil on February 2, the Day of Consecrated Life. On February 4 our Saints will be brought to the church of San Salvatore in Lauro, the Roman church of the Padre Pio Prayer Groups. On February 5 a solemn procession is planned to bring our Saints to St. Peter’s where they will be placed near the Holy Door.
So that everything can be carried out in an orderly and dignified way, it is necessary that someone look to it personally. Toward this end the General Council has entrusted the care of the event to our Office of the General Postulator in the person of Br. Carlo Calloni, General Postulator, who will open the collaboration with the Rectors of the respective Shrines of Padua and San Giovanni Rotondo, as well as with the Provincial Minister of Rome. To them is then entrusted the task of delegating to competent persons the questions regarding logistics and the preparation of the various moments of the celebrations. Further information toward the good organization of our presence in Rome will be forthcoming.
I am already happy to look forward to welcoming many of you here in Rome and to experiencing this powerful moment with you and I hope that it gives us a new enthusiasm in living in a renewed and coherent way what we have promised in the profession of our life and what is written in our Constitutions.
With fraternal wishes of Peace and Good!
Br. Mauro Jöhri
General Minister OFM Cap.
Rome, 23 September 2015