As the central theme of his papacy and stated in his motto Miserando atque eligendo (Chosen through mercy), Pope Francis hopes for a world where everyone is welcomed and encouraged to live and spread God’s love according to the Gospel. During the Jubilee Year of Mercy (2015-2016), he challenged all Christians to love and serve God through acts of mercy. As envisioned in his papal bull Misericordiae Vultus, he noted that Jesus Christ who is the face of His Father’s mercy gives us a concrete model of mercy on how to give genuine service and great love to one’s neighbors, most especially to the underprivileged and defenseless.
As a continuation of the mission of Jesus in transforming the world, this research is a result of the call made by Pope Francis to show infinite mercy and give unconditional love to the poor and sinners. With full humility, the author offers a “Theology of Mercy” which springs from a qualitative analysis of Pope Francis’ vision of mercy – Christ, Church, and Christians. It also includes a deeper examination and reflection on mercy from the perspective of the Saint Arnold Janssen Kalinga Center, its beneficiaries from the center’s ministry of re-creating their self-image, restoring their self-respect, and reclaiming their self-worth. All these are the fruits of Father Flaviano “Flavie” Villanueva’s encounter with God’s mercy.
This presentation can help people understand the message of Misericordiae Vultus in the way that God’s mercy and love are at work through the Kalinga Center. The apostolate has continued to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic, even sustaining its service of giving free and unlimited kain and ligo (food and bath) to the homeless of Metro Manila. This work may also serve as a benchmark for a merciful ministry and formation. The mercy received by many beneficiaries of the Kalinga Center has made them attentive to the cry of their fellow poor. It has helped them form a community of mercy, giving witness to God’s love which has led them in living their real purpose in life as God’s children.