CEO, Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation
English Language Media Attaché, Holy See Press Office
Speaking on Mercy: Cornerstone of Francis’ Petrine Ministry
“On March 13, 2015, Pope Francis surprised the world by announcing a Jubilee of Mercy that began in December 2015. Mercy is a balm against the hatred, violence, fanaticism that has spread like poison among people. Mercy is a theme very dear to Pope Francis, as is expressed in the episcopal motto he chose years ago for his episcopal ministry: “miserando atque eligendo”, referring to the call of Matthew in the New Testament. Jesus sees the tax collector, and since he sees by having mercy and by choosing, he says to him, ‘follow me’. Mercy has become a cornerstone of Francis’ papacy, part of his vision of a less judgmental church that is open to all.
According to Francis, the centrality of mercy is Jesus’ most important message. Mercy is essential because all people are sinners, in need of God’s forgiveness and grace, and it’s especially necessary today, at a time when “humanity is wounded,” suffering from “the many slaveries of the third millennium” — not just war and poverty and social exclusion, but also fatalism, hardheartedness and self-righteousness.
What is the story within the story of the Jubilee of Mercy? What does it mean for us priests? What does it mean for our people? How are we bearers of mercy in a society and culture that is filled with hatred, violence, fanaticism and extremism that spreads like poison among our people? Pope Francis wants to bring the whole church, starting with the cardinals, bishops, priests and consecrated persons, to open themselves to God’s mercy and to find concrete, creative ways to put mercy into practice in all areas of our priestly ministry.”
Ordained a priest in the Congregation of St. Basil on April 19, 1986, Fr. Thomas Rosica, a native of Rochester, New York, holds advanced degrees in Theology and Sacred Scripture from Regis College in the University of Toronto, the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome and the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem. Fr. Rosica has lectured in Sacred Scripture at Canadian Universities in Toronto, Windsor and London and served as Executive Director of the Newman Centre Catholic Chaplaincy at the University of Toronto from 1994-2000.
In June 1999, he was appointed by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops as the Chief Executive Officer and National Director of the World Youth Day and the Papal Visit of Pope John Paul II, that took place in Toronto during July, 2002. On July 1, 2003, Fr. Rosica became the founding Chief Executive Officer of Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation, Canada’s first national Catholic Television Network.
Appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications in 2009, Fr. Rosica also served as Media Attaché at four Synods of Bishops at the Vatican in 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2015. Since the Papal Transition in 2013, he has been English language Media Attaché to Holy See Press Office, working closely with Fr. Federico Lombardi, and relating on a daily basis to several hundred English language journalists and television and radio personnel around the world. In June 2015, Fr. Rosica was awarded the Clarion Award by the Catholic Academy of Communication Professionals in North America. The Academy honored him as “Broadcaster, Filmmaker and Church Spokesman whose portrayal of the Catholic Church brings the light of the Gospel to millions.”