Pope sends off missionaries of mercy to help people open hearts to God

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis marked the beginning of the church’s Lenten journey by sending off several hundred religious and diocesan priests on their own special path as “missionaries of mercy” in local parishes. “Look upon your servants, Lord, that we are sending as messengers of mercy, salvation and peace. Guide their steps” and…

Haitians say Lent means making room in hearts, time for prayer

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (CNS) — Marie Yolene Andre got an early start on Lent. Andre was in Haiti’s new transitional cathedral at 5 a.m. — two hours before Ash Wednesday Mass — to begin her time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. “Jesus said you live to pray as much as you can within the room of…

Return with tears to God’s loving embrace during Lent, pope says

ROME (CNS) — Lent is a journey of purification and penance, a movement that should bring one tearfully back to the loving arms of the merciful Father, Pope Francis said at an Ash Wednesday Mass that began with a procession on Rome’s Aventine Hill. After walking from the Benedictine monastery of St. Anselm to the…