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February 24, 2017

Vatican encourages works of mercy through new social media campaign

In honor of all “workers and volunteers of mercy,” the Vatican is encouraging those who volunteer in different service opportunities to share their testimony on social media with the hashtag #BeMercy.

Launched by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, the #BeMercy initiative is meant to coincide with the special Sept. 2-4 Jubilee for Workers and Volunteers of Mercy, and is part of Pope Francis’ wider Holy Year of Mercy.

“Charity, love and mercy are different words to express the same reality: God’s love,” Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Council for the New Evangelization, told CNA in an interview.

“God is close to you and God is always helping you,” he said, noting that love, charity and mercy aren’t limited to just helping people, but “become a great witness for us in the moment we are able to forgive people.”

“That will be really the challenge for us today: to be witnesses of pardon and forgiveness.”

The idea to share testimonies of volunteer service is meant to show the fact that within the Church there are many who daily perform the concrete works of mercy Pope Francis has encouraged during the Holy Year.

Since the new initiative is meant to be a special part of the special Jubilee for Workers and Volunteers of Mercy, the council is asking that faithful take to social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, etc., to share how they have volunteered their time serving others with the hashtag #BeMercy.

For those who might not know if they qualify as a volunteer of mercy, Archbishop Fisichella said those who fall into the category include “everybody who takes care of a friend or sister. Everybody who is in the condition to help people daily, in silence, in a concrete way, visiting sick people, visiting prisoners, helping poor people, assisting people who are hungry.”

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“We have an infinite way of (living the) works of mercy and in this way we have infinite workers of mercy,” he said, adding that everyone in this category is invited to join the jubilee celebration in order “to receive the thank you of Pope Francis.”

Official events for the Jubilee of Workers and Volunteers of Mercy started Friday, Sept. 2 with adoration and confessions in designated churches throughout Rome, followed by a welcoming ceremony at Castel Sant’Angelo, which sits at the end of Via Conciliazione, the large street leading up to St. Peter’s Basilica.

The following morning, jubilee participants had a special audience with Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square during which he gave a catechesis on themes related to the Holy Year.

After the audience, pilgrims had the opportunity to pass through the basilica’s Holy Door, and attend adoration and confession in certain parishes.

On Sunday, Sept. 4, the jubilee was conclude with the canonization Mass for Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, considered one of the greatest witnesses of mercy in our time, celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square.



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