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 Douglas M. McKay, Rector of the Malvern Retreat House in Malvern (Chester County) and Chaplain of Our House Ministries in Philadelphia (Grays Ferry). Read our additional profiles on the new Missionaries of Mercy here.


Rev. Douglas M. McKay

Q: In what ways do you plan to integrate this special aspect of your priesthood into your daily activities and ministries?

Except for my first priestly assignment, I have always been in special ministries for the salvation of souls. Now as a Missionary of Mercy from God Himself — through the Vicar of Christ and my Archbishop — I shall continue more gracefully my mission work for the temporal and spiritual needs of our addicted brothers and sisters. By God’s grace, I shall do for them what He does for me.

Q: How to do you plan to carry out this work beyond your current assignment?

I shall carry out my missionary ministry to the so called least, sickest, and neediest of His brethren by proclaiming to them, always and everywhere, the Good News of Salvation: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” (Mark 1:15). Being the Rector of Malvern Retreat House and Chaplain of Our House Ministries, I have been gracefully endowed with all the sacramental means for His divine proclamation. May I shout His mercy from the mountain tops!

Q: In what ways can lay individuals live out the message of mercy in their everyday lives? 

Lay individuals can live out the message of mercy by listening to God the Father and Mother Mary. “This is my beloved son, listen to Him,” (Mark 9: 7). and “Do whatever He tells you.” (John 2:5). By being obedient to the Word of God, we shall receive His merciful love. Then, what you receive as a gift, give as a gift.

Q: The Sacrament of Reconciliation communicates God’s infinite mercy to us. What would you say to those who have been away from confession and may be looking to make it a regular part of their faith journey again?

The Sacrament of Reconciliation, and all of the sacraments, are personal and intimate encounters with Jesus Christ. Priesthood is in His person. When my anointed hand absolves the penitent in the sacrament of mercy, His crucified hand comes off the cross and embraces the repentant heart to His Sacred Heart for divine peace, joy, and love. Yes, in the confessional the sinner admits his sins, but even more so receives His GRACE — God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense — to be faithful to the Gospel.

Q: What is your ultimate hope for your mission as an ambassador of mercy?

My hope — Heaven’s Oneness Placed Earthly — as a Missionary of Mercy is to do all for the glory of God, for the salvation of souls, and for my own sanctification.


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