Twelve members of the Norbertine community were positioned across the St. Norbert College (SNC) campus to engage in conversations of vocation exploration and spiritual direction, as well as joining in the Sacrament of Reconciliation with students, faculty, staff, and administration of the college community ...
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Video courtesy of St. Norbert College

Let us never tire of asking for forgiveness.

—Pope Francis

Twelve members of the Norbertine community were positioned across the St. Norbert College (SNC) campus to engage in conversations of vocation exploration and spiritual direction, as well as joining in the Sacrament of Reconciliation with students, faculty, staff, and administration of the college community, on October 19, 2016, the Memorial of Ss. Isaac Jogues, SJ; John de Brébeuf, SJ; and Companions—Martyrs for the Faith—as one of many means to celebrate the Church’s Jubilee Year of Mercy.

In declaring the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis stated, “In this Jubilee Year, may the Church echo the word of God that resounds strong and clear as a message and a sign of pardon, strength, aid, and love. May she never tire of extending mercy, and be ever patient in offering compassion and comfort. May the Church become the voice of every man and woman, and repeat confidently without end: ‘Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old’ ” (Ps 25:6).

In honoring the Church’s Jubilee Year of Mercy, this Mercy on the Mall event marked the second time that Norbertines have availed themselves in this corporate spiritual endeavor that extends beyond the weekly celebrations of Reconciliation that take place in Old St. Joseph Church and spontaneously in the private offices of Norbertine faculty and administrators.

Fr. Matthew Dougherty, O. Praem.
Fr. Matthew Dougherty, O. Praem.

SNC students are quick to articulate the comfort and solace they experience in noticing the “Men in White” who permeate the campus as Mercy on the Mall is celebrated.

Fr. Matthew Dougherty, O. Praem., 2009 SNC graduate, canonry vocation coordinator for the college community, and coordinator of the event, stated, “In 2013, Pope Francis asked Christians to ‘go out;’ go out into the streets to meet people where they are and communicate God’s mercy. Mercy on the Mall was an attempt to do just that: go out to the students, faculty, and staff at SNC, to listen to their questions, hear their confessions, or simply engage them in conversations about life. Jesus didn’t wait for people to come to him. He went out into the streets and called people by name. As Norbertine priests and seminarians, we tried to do the same. We pray that our efforts were fruitful in proclaiming the Mercy of God to all.”

The Norbertines are committed to continuing the practice well after the Year of Mercy concludes.