Pope Francis has given the Church a wonderful gift! He has proclaimed an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy as a special time for the Church “to make more evident its mission to be a witness of mercy.” Only the third special jubilee in Church history, this past year will be an opportunity to encourage Christians to meet people’s real needs with concrete assistance, and to experience and recognize with gratitude the mercy of God in our own lives.
The Jubilee of Mercy
The Holy Year opened on December 8, 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and concluded on the Solemnity of Christ the King on November 20, 2016. The official proclamation (bull of indiction) of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy was entitled Misericordiae Vultus (“The Face of Mercy”) and explains how in Jesus Christ, in his words and actions, the mercy of God has been revealed.
In his Papal Bull, Pope Francis focuses our attention on several key ideas:
- Encountering the mercy of God through the Sacrament of Mercy – Reconciliation;
- The importance of making pilgrimage as a reminder that we are a pilgrim people;
- Living mercifully through the practice of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.
In the Jubilee Year, Catholics should feel challenged to make it evident that the Church is a living witness to the compassion of God. By recognizing the presence of the Father’s mercy in our own lives, through prayer, reflection, and reconciliation, we are then prepared to search out and respond to the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of those in our community – the sick, the imprisoned, the poor, the stranger – and bring mercy to others.
The Office of Worship developed a Year of Mercy booklet to assist parishes and parishioners during the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.