On March 13, 2015, the second anniversary of his election as the Successor of Peter,Pope Francis announced an Extraordinary Holy Year that will begin on Tuesday, December 8
. This is the first Holy Year to celebrate not an anniversary of some kind, but the attribute of God the Father which is most exalted in both the Old and the New Testaments: His Mercy. In the Bull of Indiction of the Jubilee, Misericordiae Vultus
, the Pope states:
The Church makes herself a servant of this love [of Christ] and mediates it to all people: a love that forgives and expresses itself in the gift of oneself. Consequently, wherever the Church is present, the mercy of the Father must be evident. In our parishes, communities, associations and movements, in a word, wherever there are Christians, everyone should find an oasis of mercy. (MV 12).
In the Archdiocese of Edmonton, the Jubilee of Mercy was formally opened by Archbishop Richard Smith on Sunday, December 13, the Third Sunday of Advent, at St. Joseph's Basilica. The Mass included a special ceremony of blessing and opening of a Holy Door of Mercy. In his homily for the inauguration of the Jubilee of Mercy, the Archbishop reflected on the powerful symbolism of the door -- both the door that opens to goodness, and the door that must be closed to evil.
In his Pastoral Letter on the Year of Mercy, Archbishop Smith writes:
The Lord pours out his mercy upon contrite hearts in many ways. The privileged place of this encounter with God’s merciful love is in the celebration of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Penance. Transformed by mercy, we are moved to become its agents through what the Tradition of the Church calls the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
In this regard, I make my own the appeal issued by the Holy Father: “Let us rediscover these corporal works of mercy: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead. And let us not forget the spiritual works of mercy: to counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the afflicted, forgive offences, bear patiently those who do us ill, and pray for the living and the dead.” (MV 15)
On these pages, you will find a list of events, both local and universal, planned for the Holy Year, as well as some good resources to help you plan Jubilee of Mercy activities in your parish, school or community.