San Francisco priest named ‘missionary of mercy’

Father John De La Riva is rector at the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi
Father John De La Riva

Father John De La Riva (photo from shrinesf.org)

The following comes from a January 26 Catholic San Francisco article by Christina Gray:

Capuchin Franciscan Father John De La Riva, rector of the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi in North Beach, has been accepted by Pope Francis to serve as a “missionary of mercy” during the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy after he was nominated by the provincial minister of the Western America Province.

Father De La Riva told Catholic San Francisco on Jan. 20 that he would join 800 missionary candidates from around the world in Rome on Feb. 9 when Pope Francis would more fully reveal their ambassadorial duties. That same day, the pope will celebrate a private Mass for Capuchins at St. Peter’s Basilica before officially sending out all missionaries during an Ash Wednesday Mass on Feb. 10.

he Nuova Porziuncola at the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi in San Francisco (photo from copywriteronthego.com)

The Nuova Porziuncola at the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi in San Francisco (photo from copywriteronthego.com)

In a letter notifying Father De La Riva of his acceptance, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization Bishop Rino Fishichella said that selected priests would serve as “welcoming confessors who are aware of the limits of our humanity and are willing to serve as a living sign of the Father’s embrace to all those who seek his forgiveness.”

After the pope sends out missionaries of mercy priests in February, each will make himself available to local diocesan bishops and pastors to preside at penitential celebrations, to preach missions, and, to “above all hear confessions,” he said.

According to Capuchin Father Miguel Angel Ortiz, a spokesperson for the Capuchin Franciscan friars of the Western America Province in Burlingame, Father De La Riva was chosen by Capuchin Father Harold Snider because “his role as rector calls him to welcome all pilgrims who come to visit the shrine and to minister to them with mercy and compassion as St. Francis of Assisi would do.”

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  1. Your Fellow Cathoic says:

    I think I met Father De La River recently at a public event. I wish him well and pray that Christ’s mercy would be worked through his hands and words. God Bless him.

  2. TheVeiledThreat says:

    Fr. De La Riva would occasionally help out in our parish by saying Mass. This is when I first came back to the faith. My impression is of a good and holy man. I believe he spent some time afterwards in LA ministering to those caught up in the lifestyle of gangs. He is the type who can connect with young people.

    I remember feeling I needed to go to confession before Mass one Sunday and he graciously heard my confession.

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