What is the Year of Mercy?

Categories: Year of Mercy

pope_mercy“Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” — Luke 6:36

What is the Year of Mercy?

Year of Mercy logoOn March 13, Pope Francis declared an Extraordinary Year of Mercy that will begin Dec. 8 and extend through Nov. 20, 2016.

In his address that day, he said he often thought about how the church could be a better witness to mercy, and he concluded that it must begin with a journey.

“It is a journey which begins with spiritual conversion,” he said. “Therefore, I have decided to announce an Extraordinary Jubilee which has at its center the mercy of God. It will be a Holy Year of Mercy. We want to live in the light of the word of the Lord: ‘Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful’ (cf. Luke 6:36).”

This Holy Year will start on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary and conclude on the Solemnity of Christ the King.

“I am confident that the whole church, which is in such need of mercy, for we are sinners, will be able to find in this Jubilee the joy of rediscovering and rendering fruitful God’s mercy, with which we are all called to give comfort to every man and every woman of our time,” Pope Francis said.

“Do not forget that God forgives all, and God forgives always. Let us never tire of asking for forgiveness.”

Prayer of Pope Francis for the Jubilee

Lord Jesus Christ, you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father, and have told us that whoever sees you sees him.

Show us your face and we will be saved. Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money; the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things; made Peter weep after his betrayal, and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.

Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman: “If you knew the gift of God!”

You are the visible face of the invisible Father, of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy: Let the church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.

You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error: Let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved and forgiven by God.

Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing, so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord, and your church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed, and restore sight to the blind.

We ask this of you, Lord Jesus, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy; you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.

Local Holy Door to reopen

On Sunday, Dec. 13, a Holy Door designated for the Year of Mercy will be reopened by Bishop Donald Kettler at the 9:45 a.m. Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Cloud.
The Holy Door is part of a longstanding tradition dating back to 1423. Visitors are encouraged to pass through the Holy Door throughout this Jubilee Year as a sign of conversion, of turning to Christ, who is the door to eternal life.

Save the date: Festival of Forgiveness

On March 4 — one of the Fridays of Lent — parishes selected in each diocesan deanery will be hosting a Festival of Forgiveness from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

This event is designed to encourage those who have been away from the sacrament of reconciliation to be welcomed back warmly and openly.

“Confession offers a chance to examine our consciences and reflect on how we’ve fallen short in following God’s will,” Bishop Donald Kettler said in his Nov. 20 column. “Even if it’s been a long time since your last confession, please don’t be fearful of going. The priest, who is acting in Christ’s name, will welcome you to this special experience of God’s healing and grace.”

Parishioners as well as those who claim no parish are invited to attend. Watch for more details including locations in upcoming issues of The Visitor.