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Pope Francis announces a Holy Year of Mercy

by | Mar 13, 2015 | Formation

Pope head shotDear brothers and sisters, I have often thought about how the Church might make clear its mission of being a witness to mercy. It is journey that begins with a spiritual conversion. For this reason, I have decided to call an extraordinary Jubilee that is to have the mercy of God at its center. It shall be a Holy Year of Mercy. We want to live this Year in the light of the Lord’s words: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (cf. Lk 6:36)”

This Holy Year will begin on this coming Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and will end on November 20, 2016, the Sunday dedicated to Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe – and living face of the Father’s mercy. I entrust the organization of this Jubilee to the Pontifical Council for Promotion of the New Evangelization, that [the dicastery] might animate it as a new stage in the journey of the Church on its mission to bring to every person the Gospel of mercy.

I am convinced that the whole Church will find in this Jubilee the joy needed to rediscover and make fruitful the mercy of God, with which all of us are called to give consolation to every man and woman of our time. From this moment, we entrust this Holy Year to the Mother of Mercy, that she might turn her gaze upon us and watch over our journey.

(http://www.news.va/en/news/about-the-jubilee-of-mercy)

The pope also said he wants the church to live the upcoming holy year “in the light” of Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Luke: “Be merciful, just as your father is merciful.”

A jubilee year is a special year called by the church to receive blessing and pardon from God and remission of sins. The Catholic church has called jubilee years every 25 or 50 years since the year 1300 and has also called special jubilee years from time to time, known as extraordinary jubilee years.

The last jubilee year was held in 2000 during the papacy of Pope John Paul II and was known as “the Great Jubilee.” The last extraordinary jubilee year was held in 1983 to celebrate 1,950 years since the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Francis said the new jubilee would begin on this year’s Catholic feast of the Immaculate Conception, celebrated Dec. 8. It will close on Nov. 20, 2016, the day celebrated that year as the feast of Christ the King.

Announcing the closing date, the pope added a new term to the title of Christ celebrated that day, also calling Jesus “the living face of the mercy of the father.”

Francis said he has entrusted the organization of the jubilee year to the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization “so that that they may animate it as a new stage of the journey of the church in its mission to bring to every person the gospel of mercy.”

The jubilee year will formally open Dec. 8 with the opening of the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. The other holy doors of basilicas around the world will then be opened as a sign of God’s opening a new pathway to salvation.

Francis has made mercy a central theme of his papacy, speaking of it often in homilies and in his texts. His apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”), uses the word 32 times.

Francis announces new global jubilee, the Holy Year of Mercy.

http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/francis-announces-new-global-jubilee-holy-year-mercy

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