His Holiness Pope Francis met with Mercedarian Fathers, (members of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy) who are celebrating 800 years since the foundation of their order. The order was founded in 1218 for the redemption of Christian captives.

As reported by Vatican news, The Pontiff addressed the Fathers, saying that first of all he wished to “put before your eyes that first love which you express with the vow of redemption”. His Holiness Pope Francis reminds the Fathers that “following Christ means giving life in order to save souls.”, going on to say that “we all know the importance of following Christ” although, he says, at times “rather than follow Him we approach our lives as though He were the one who has to follow us.” The Pope explains that following Jesus is not a question of methodology, but of letting “Him precede us and set the pace for personal and community walks.”

His Holiness Pope Francis goes on to tell the Mercedarian Fathers that “as members of a redeeming order”, they “must first experience in themselves the redemption of Christ to help their brethren discover the God who saves”, and invites them to continue to be “bearers of the Lord’s redemption to prisoners, refugees and migrants, to those who fall into the trap of human trafficking, to vulnerable adults, to orphaned and exploited children. Bring God’s tenderness and mercy to all who are discarded by society.”