Corpora speaks on Year of Mercy
Lucas Masin-Moyer | Thursday, April 14, 2016
With Pope Francis’ declaration of 2016 as the Jubilee Year of Mercy, one of Pope Francis’ Missionaries of Mercy spoke at Coleman-Morse Center on Wednesday night. This Missionary of Mercy, Fr. Joe Corpora, a Holy Cross Priest, director of university-school partnerships in ACE, and priest in residence at Dillon Hall, spoke on the power of mercy and his personal experiences as a Missionary of Mercy.
“I believe that God gave Pope Francis an extraordinary grace to look at the signs of the times and to read them, and looking at the signs of the times the Holy Father sensed this dire need for mercy, that it might have been the one thing the world needed more than anything else,” Corpora said.
Corpora said Francis has made great strides in the understanding of mercy.
“Pope Francis goes as far as to say mercy is God’s name,” Corpora said, “He’s moved the understanding of [mercy] from something that God does … to something that He is. He is mercy.”
With this declaration of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Francis set about spreading this message of mercy by calling out for missionaries of mercy. Corpora was nominated and chosen to be one of these missionaries, an act which he said was incredibly emotional for him.
“Well, I just wept,” Corpora said, “I was overcome with joy and gratitude.”
This position as a Missionary of Mercy allowed Corpora the opportunity to travel to the Vatican where he met with other missionaries and Pope Francis himself. Corpora said the Pope was “entirely the person you see on TV.”
“There is nothing I wouldn’t tell him about my life. He just exudes grace and mercy,” Corpora said.
After leaving the Vatican, Corpora said he set about spreading this message of mercy.
“I received a lifetime of mercy, so what else could I do but give it away?” Corpora said.
One of the most important aspects of this mercy, Corpora said, was the act of confession. Corpora talked on his own approach to confession through mercy.
“I try in each instance to help the person see that the mercy of God is bigger than any possible sin than any person could possibly commit. That our sins are like little blips on the screen of God’s mercy, that God’s mercy trumps and overcomes any sin that anyone could have committed,” Corpora said.
Corpora also spoke on how anyone could go about fulfilling this message of mercy. Corpora said that all must go about, “practicing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.”
“Whatever work of mercy we practice must bring us into contact with people, whether it’s a corporal work of mercy, giving food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, visiting the prisoners. It brings us into contact with people,” he said.
One must undertake this mission of mercy in a way that focuses on human to human interaction, Corpora said.
“Imagine how much our lives would be different if we engaged with each other from that perspective, which is basically human to human. Instead of, as we often do, we engage with others as Mexican to Anglo, African American to Asian, gay to straight, documented to undocumented, rich to poor, but rather as human to human … which is basically I have something good to give, and something good to receive from another person,” Corpora said.
Corpora said he has faith this message of mercy will endure.
“We’ve had a lot of these thematic years in the last ten years — the year of family, the year of faith, the year of consecrated life, but they began with a big flourish and you didn’t hear about them until they were over, but the Year of Mercy just keeps growing,” Corpora said.