As part of an effort to help people engage, understand and dive deeper into Bishop Kettler’s pastoral letter, Be Merciful, Just as Your Father is Merciful, The Visitor is offering a 40-day series of messages throughout Lent called “Mercy Minutes.” These Mercy Minutes will include quotes and short excerpts from the pastoral letter as well as prayer intentions and theological reflections on the 14 questions that accompany the letter. You can subscribe to receive a daily email at: http://bemerciful.stcdio.org/



Shrine profile – Assumption Chapel

Pope Francis declared an Extraordinary Year of Mercy, beginning Dec. 8, 2015, and ending Nov. 20, 2016. Bishop Donald Kettler has designated places of pilgrimage and shrines within the St. Cloud Diocese for this Holy Year, inviting the faithful to experience grace and reconciliation as they rediscover joy in the mercy of God. A pilgrimage…

Festival of Forgiveness called a ‘smashing success’

By Kristi Anderson The Visitor For the last few years, Pope Francis has celebrated “24 hours for the Lord,” a penitential celebration at St. Peter’s Basilica. The event includes several hours for confession and eucharistic adoration. After hearing about this initiative as well as the 24-hour Festival of Forgiveness in the Archdiocese of Chicago last…

Social ministry teams combat food insecurity

by Kristi Anderson The Visitor Just after her husband, Brian, passed away unexpectedly, Sheri Renner was asked to get involved with the social ministry team at her parish, St. Louis Bertrand in Foreston. Being part of the team helped her to think about others who were suffering and needed help, she said. “It is rewarding…

Philippine nun: DiCaprio’s speech reflects churches’ concern on resources

MANILA, Philippines (CNS) — “Be like Leonardo DiCaprio.” Ucanews.com reported that was the call of Sister Aloha Vergara of the Handmaids of the House of God, who said DiCaprio’s speech at the Feb. 28 Academy Awards “reflects the people and the churches’ position on the protection of the environment.” The Hollywood actor said climate change…

For ‘Mercy Friday’ initiative, pope visits young addicts at rehab center

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In the second of his “Mercy Friday” gestures, Pope Francis spent two hours with a group of young adults at a Catholic-run residential drug rehabilitation center. To the complete surprise of the 55 residents, Pope Francis showed up in his compact Ford Escort at the San Carlo Community Feb. 26 with…

Your pilgrimage passport for the Year of Mercy

passportThe Visitor announces the “Pilgrimage Passport: A Journey of Mercy” project. This project is intended for individuals, families, students, schools, youth groups and anyone who wants to mark the Year of Mercy in a special way.

To the right is a “passport” that can be cut out and folded in half. Below are “stamps” that can be cut out.

Once an act of mercy has been performed or received or a pilgrimage has been made, “stamps” can be glued onto the boxes designated for each of four categories: pilgrimage sites, corporal works of mercy, spiritual works of mercy and an area where participants may choose a mix of any of the three categories.

The idea is to encourage people to consciously make an effort to understand, exhibit, receive and be grateful for God’s great mercy.

On the inside of the passport are ideas for places to visit and things to do to “earn” a stamp. Feel free to be creative. Participants may also write in the boxes if they do not wish to use the stamps.

Tell us how it went

Once passports are filled, participants are encouraged to answer one or more of the three questions on the back of the passport. This can also be written on a separate piece of paper and submitted to The Visitor – Year of Mercy, P.O. Box 1068, St. Cloud, MN 56302 or emailed to editor@stcloudvisitor.org. Please include your name and phone number. Responses may be used in print and/or online.

Download the passport and stamps here:

Passport (PDF)

Passport Stamps (PDF)



Festival of Forgiveness

Friday, March 4

Each deanery will have a designated church where the sacrament of reconciliation will be available over the course of 12 hours.

More information…