The Jubilee Year of Mercy will be inaugurated on 8 December 2015, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and will run until 20 November 2016 which is the solemnity of Christ the King. Announcing the Jubilee of Mercy Pope Francis said:
Dear brothers and sisters, I have often thought of how the Church may render more clear her mission to be a witness to mercy; and we have to make this journey. It is a journey which begins with spiritual conversion. Therefore, I have decided to announce an Extraordinary Jubilee which has at its centre the mercy of God. It will be a Holy Year of Mercy. We want to live in the light of the word of the Lord: “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (cf. Lk 6:36). And this especially applies to confessors! So much mercy!
This Holy Year will commence on the next Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and will conclude on Sunday, 20 November 2016, the Solemnity of 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 Promoting the New Evangelization, in order that it may come to life as a new step on the Church’s journey in her mission to bring the Gospel of mercy to each person.
I am confident that the whole Church, which is in such need of mercy for we are sinners, will be able to find in this Jubilee the joy of rediscovering and rendering fruitful God’s mercy, with which we are all called to give comfort to every man and every woman of our time. Do not forget that God forgives all, and God forgives always. Let us never tire of asking forgiveness. Let us henceforth entrust this Year to the Mother of Mercy, that she turn her gaze upon us and watch over our journey: our penitential journey, our year-long journey with an open heart, to receive the indulgence of God, to receive the mercy of God.
A jubilee refers to a special year of remission of sins and universal pardon. 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 Saint 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.
Letter of Pope Francis for the Jubilee of Mercy
Pope Francis issued an Apostolic Letter for the Jubilee of Mercy. Click here for the text.
Prayer for the Jubilee of Mercy
Lord Jesus Christ,
you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father,
and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him.
Show us your face and we will be saved.
Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money;
the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things;
made Peter weep after his betrayal,
and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.
Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman:
“If you knew the gift of God!”
You are the visible face of the invisible Father,
of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy:
let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.
You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness
in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error:
let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.
Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing,
so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord,
and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor,
proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed,
and restore sight to the blind.
We ask this of you, Lord Jesus, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of
Mercy; you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and
Year of Mercy logo
The logo and the motto together provide a fitting summary of what the Jubilee Year is all about. The motto Merciful Like the Father(taken from the Gospel of Luke, 6:36) serves as an invitation to follow the merciful example of the Father who asks us not to judge or condemn but to forgive and to give love and forgiveness without measure (cfr. Lk 6:37-38). The logo – the work of Jesuit Father Marko I. Rupnik – presents a small summa theologiae of the theme of mercy. In fact, it represents an image quite important to the early Church: that of the Son having taken upon his shoulders the lost soul demonstrating that it is the love of Christ that brings to completion the mystery of his incarnation culminating in redemption. The logo has been designed in such a way so as to express the profound way in which the Good Shepherd touches the flesh of humanity and does so with a love with the power to change one’s life. One particular feature worthy of note is that while the Good Shepherd, in his great mercy, takes humanity upon himself, his eyes are merged with those of man. Christ sees with the eyes of Adam, and Adam with the eyes of Christ. Every person discovers in Christ, the new Adam, one’s own humanity and the future that lies ahead, contemplating, in his gaze, the love of the Father.
The scene is captured within the so called mandorla (the shape of an almond), a figure quite important in early and medieval iconography, for it calls to mind the two natures of Christ, divine and human. The three concentric ovals, with colors progressively lighter as we move outward, suggest the movement of Christ who carries humanity out of the night of sin and death. Conversely, the depth of the darker color suggests the impenetrability of the love of the Father who forgives all.
The logo can be downloaded from here or from clicking on this link.
Click here to listen to the Year of Mercy hymn.
Click here for video of the hymn
Click to download the Year of Mercy hymn – English score
Calendar of Events and Rite of Opening of the Door of Mercy in Local Churches
The Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy will be a moment of true grace for all Christians and a re-awakening to continue along the path of the new evangelisation and pastoral conversion indicated by Pope Francis. That was the description given by Archbishop Salvadore Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation at a press conference in the Vatican on Tuesday 5 May 2015 where he unveiled details of the main events taking place during the Year of Mercy. Archbishop Fisichella said that for the first time in the history of Jubilee Years in the Church, this one offers the possibility for individual dioceses around the world to take part in the event by opening their own Holy Door, or Door of Mercy, in a cathedral, or church or at a shrine that is popular with pilgrims.
Our Sunday Visitor has made available a free download of the rite of the opening of the Door of Mercy in the local Churches. This rite is available as a PDF for download by clicking on the link below:
Click here for Rite of Opening of the Door of Mercy in Local Churches
Click here to download the calendar of major events for the Jubilee of Mercy.
(COURTESY OF www.catholicbishops.ie)