INDIAN LAND—Father Jeffrey Kirby, a moral theologian, national columnist, author, and pastor of Our Lady of Grace Church, was recently named a Missionary of Mercy by Pope Francis, according to a press release from the parish.
The mandate was given by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, through the Vatican’s nunciature (embassy) in Washington, D.C.
The Missionary of Mercy program was created by Pope Francis in 2016. It was originally a part of the Jubilee Year of Mercy that year, but Pope Francis later extended the program indefinitely. Approximately 1,000 Missionaries of Mercy serve throughout the world, according to the church statement.
Priests who have been named Missionaries of Mercy are expected to preach about mercy and make it concrete through availability of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Pope Francis expects all Missionaries of Mercy to be “signs and instruments of God’s forgiveness” the press release stated.
Father Kirby has written on mercy as well as giving talks on the subject, plus makes pastoral efforts to promote the Sacrament of Reconciliation. He stated that he has a devotion to the Divine Mercy and to St. Faustina, who is said to have received private revelations from Jesus Christ about his love and compassion for humanity.
As a Missionary of Mercy, Father Kirby will take on additional duties, but will remain as the pastor of Our Lady of Grace. He has served as the administrator and then pastor of the community since 2016.
At the petition of Father Kirby, Our Lady of Grace Church received a first-class relic, which is a bone fragment, of St. Faustina from the motherhouse of her religious order in Poland. The relic is displayed alongside her statue in the church.