In April, Pope Francis announced in his papal bull Misericordiae Vultus that an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy will begin on Dec. 8, 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. This is also the 50th Anniversary of the closing of the second Vatican Council.
What is a Jubilee Year? Following an ancient Hebrew custom, jubilees are celebrated to encourage people to return to a life of holiness. It is a year of rest and restoration, when captives are set free, debts forgiven, and land laid fallow. The last “ordinary” jubilee took place in 2000, marking the 2nd millennial anniversary of Christ’s birth. This is the first extraordinary jubilee since 1983, when Pope John Paul II announced the Holy Year of the Redemption
(the 1950th anniversary of Christ’s death and resurrection).
The theme of this extraordinary jubilee year of mercy is “Merciful Like the Father.” Pope Francis envisions a year when people will become more merciful in their own lives and bring God’s mercy to others. He calls us to recognize the connection between mercy and justice, and trust that in all goodness, God will pour out mercy on the entire cosmos.
On December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis will open a Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica that remains sealed except in jubilee years. In the weeks that follow, Holy Doors will be opened around the world in shrines, cathedrals, and churches, becoming “Doors of Mercy.” There will be five in our diocese: the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, Church of Saint Nicholas, Church of Saint Francis of Assisi, and Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea.
Here in our parish, we will focus on one or two of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy each month. Watch for more details as the Year of Mercy unfolds in our church, in our parish and diocese, and in the hearts of the faithful around the world.
Shelter the homeless/Welcome the stranger July: Admonish the sinner
Feed the hungry; Give drink to the thirsty September: Instruct the ignorant
Counsel the doubtful November: Bury the dead
Admonish the sinner
Instruct the ignorant
Bury the Dead