The Archdiocese of Philadelphia rejoices to have 11 of her own priests appointed to be Archdiocesan Missionaries of Mercy. These priests are available to help facilitate pastoral initiatives that focus on conversion and divine mercy, with a particular attention given to the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

>>SEE RELATED: Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez Commissions Ten New Missionaries of Mercy

Missionaries of Mercy are priests – diocesan or religious – who have been commissioned by the Holy Father to give particular emphasis to the duty shared by all priests to “hear confessions and preach on behalf of and promote the Sacrament of Reconciliation.” They are to be an intentional, visible expression of the mercy of God, which is at the heart of the priesthood and all of Catholic life. In addition, Missionaries of Mercy have the authority, granted by the Holy Father, to pardon these sins reserved to the Holy See:

  • Profaning the Eucharistic species by taking them away or keeping them for a sacrilegious purpose;
  • Use of physical force against the Roman Pontiff;
  • Absolution of an accomplice in a sin against the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue;
  • A direct violation against the sacramental seal by a confessor.
  • The recording by means of a technical device of what the priest or the penitent says in a Sacramental Confession (whether real or simulated), or the divulgation of such a recording through the means of social communication.

CatholicPhilly presents the following interview with Reverend Monsignor Paul V. Dougherty, Pastor of Saint Margaret of Antioch Parish in Narberth (Montgomery County) and Chaplain of the Deaf Apostolate. Read our additional profiles on the new Missionaries of Mercy here.


Monsignor Paul V. Dougherty

I am honored to be called to be a Missionary of Mercy.  The heart of Christ is mercy.  He took on humanity to forgive our sins.  God’s mercy is the cornerstone of our faith.  I see being a Missionary of Mercy as an opportunity to proclaim God’s mercy more fully.  In my own parish I feel re-energized to bring God’s mercy to my people, especially through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and to be a minister of mercy and in all that I do and say.

There are many opportunities for all of us each day to convey the gentle and life-giving compassion and mercy of God to others.  Daily patience and kindness are of the utmost importance in being vehicles of God’s love.

As a Missionary of Mercy, I will seek to make myself available as a resource within the Archdiocese to proclaim the mercy of God and bring his healing forgiveness to others.   The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a great blessing given to us by our Lord so that we can deeply experience his forgiveness and renew our commitment to him.

Those who are moved to seek forgiveness through the Sacrament should not let fear hold them back.  The Lord is always waiting with open arms to welcome us and strengthen us to follow him so that we can live a fuller life of peace and joy in his grace.

My hope is that my service as an ambassador of God’s mercy will open people’s hearts to the healing love of Christ and draw them close to him, who is eager always to be with us and lead us to a deeper union with him.  It is him that we find true life.   I hope to unite people to Christ who is the source of all goodness, light and love.


To learn more about the Missionaries of Mercy International, please visit  To learn more about the Missionaries of Mercy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia,