Year of Mercy
"Jesus Christ is the face of the Father's mercy," says Pope Francis. "At times we are called to gaze even more attentively on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father's action in our lives."
God never tires of casting open the doors of his heart. On December 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Francis marked the opening of a Jubilee Year in the Church by opening the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica as a "sign of communion of the whole Church." . Normally, Jubilees take place every twenty-five years—the last one was held in the year 2000 to mark a new millennium. But as he has done in many other avenues, the Holy Father has broken with tradition and called a special Jubilee dedicated to the mercy of God. For a whole year, we are invited to contemplate the “mystery of mercy,” a mystery that we see most clearly in Jesus, whom the pope has called “the face of the Father’s mercy.”
Anyone who walks through these Doors of Mercy, says Pope Francis, will "experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instils hope."
On the following Sunday (the third Sunday of Advent) Pope Francis will open the Holy Door of the Cathedral of Rome. On subsequent Sundays, other doors to papal basilicas will be opened. The Pope has requested that each diocese across the globe also open a "Door of Mercy" to recognize the Jubilee locally.
Holy Doors in Our Diocese:
Here in the Diocese of Steubenville, Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton opened the Holy Door at Christ the King Chapel, Franciscan University, on December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, following the 2pm campus Mass at Finnegan Fieldhouse. Additionally, the Holy Door at the Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption, in Marietta, were opened by Bishop Monforton on Dec. 12 as a sign of welcoming and entering into the Year of Mercy. All who walk through the Holy Doors at Franciscan University and/or the Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption will be blessed with God's loving mercy!
The Holy Door is a sign of the mercy of Christ, inviting all to conversion. When we cross the threshold we leave our past behind, resolving anew to live in Christ.
“Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep.…I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture” (cf. John 10:7-9).
“This is the door of the Lord where the just may enter” (Ps 118:20).
The door of a church is more than just the passage from the exterior to the interior of a building or space, but a move from the world outside to the heavenly Jerusalem inside. In the sacramental life of the Church this is manifest: in baptism, the priest meets the parents and godparents with the one to be baptized at the door before proceeding to the baptistery; the Easter Vigil begins outside the doors with the blessing of the new fire, which is then carried as the Light of Christ through the dark church to the sanctuary; in funerals the casket is met and blessed at the door before being brought forward.
Holy doors have been specially designated since the jubilee of 1423 in the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome. By the end of the 15th century the practice spread to all basilicas of Rome and St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. In the ensuing centuries the practice and ritual has spread beyond Rome, making the graces of a holy door more widely available.
In designating a door as a holy door, the Church emphasizes this passage from darkness to light, from former ways to the ways of Christ.
Holy Door Indulgence
The faithful may gain a plenary indulgence once per day for oneself or for a soul in Purgatory by:
- Devoutly passing through the Holy Door
- Praying the Our Father and the Creed for the intentions of our Holy Father
- Meeting the ordinary conditions: 1) An interior disposition of complete detachment from sin; 2) Making a sacramental confession; and 3) Receiving the Holy Eucharist.
*The "ordinary conditions" must be completed within a week to 10 days before or after passing through the Holy Door.
Motto: the Holy Year's motto will be "Merciful like the Father" ["Wherever the Church is present, the mercy of the Father must be evident. Wherever there are Christians, everyone should find an oasis of mercy" - Pope Francis]
- Understanding God's mercy: "The mercy of God is not an abstract idea, but a concrete reality through which he reveals his love as that of a father or a mother," said Pope Francis.
- Practical ways to live the Holy Year: Go on pilgrimage, do not judge or condemn, forgive and give, avoid gossip, envy and jealousy, open your heart to "the fringes of society," bring consolation, mercy and solidarity to the oppressed, take up corporal and spiritual acts of mercy with a joyful heart, observe the "24 Hours for the Lord" initiative during Lent.
- Call for justice and conversion: Pope Francis asks members of criminal organizations and other corrupt groups to "change their lives and embrace God's mercy."
- Year of Mercy - USCCB webpage
- Blog: Pope: Mercy is 'the beating heart of the Gospel'
- Jubilee Year of Mercy Facebook page
- Jubilee Year of Mercy - Vatican website
- Pastoral resources
- Holy Door and Indulgence
Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy Calendar
For an electronic file of the calendar, please visit www.livemercy.org or click the image above. Feel free to print and share this calendar with your friends, family and anyone else you that comes to mind.
***The Year of Mercy Calendar is a collaborative effort of the Diocese of Steubenville and the Diocese of Syracuse. It is intended to be a free resource that helps people encounter and extend God's mercy during this Extraordinary Jubilee. The Year of Mercy Calendar may not be put up for sale or changed in any way.
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