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Pope announces Jubilee: a Year of Mercy

March 13, 2015

Pope Francis has declared a special Jubilee Year, a Year of Mercy.

The Year of Mercy will begin on December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, and continue through November 20, 2016: the feast of Christ the King.

Pope Francis announced the extraordinary Jubilee during his homily at a penance service in St. Peter’s basilica on March 13: the 2nd anniversary of his election as Roman Pontiff.

“As the Apostle Paul reminds us, God never ceases to show the richness of His mercy throughout the ages,” the Pope said. “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.”

The Pope stressed the need to accept God’s mercy, particularly through sacramental Confession. As the service in the Vatican basilica continued, the Holy Father illustrated his point by making his own confession, then hearing confessions of other penitents.

In his homily the Pope spoke about how an understanding of God’s boundless mercy leads the faithful to confession and repentance:

To be touched with tenderness by His hand and shaped by His grace allows us, therefore, to approach the priest without fear for our sins, but with the certainty of being welcomed by him in the name of God, and understood notwithstanding our miseries. Coming out of the confessional, we will feel God’s strength, which restores life and returns the enthusiasm of faith.

The penance service at St. Peter’s basilica was part of the “24 Hours for the Lord” initiative, in which priests throughout the city of Rome are making a special effort to be available for confessions throughout the day in a number of different churches.

Pope Francis said that he had been thinking of “how the Church might make clear its mission of being a witness to mercy.” He said that the Holy Year of Mercy was intended as a step in that direction—on what he called a “journey of conversion.”

An “extraordinary Jubilee” is called to mark a special event or initiative—as opposed to an “ordinary” Jubilee, which is usually at a set time, to celebrate an important anniversary. The Jubilee Year 2000, called by St. John Paul II, was an “ordinary” Jubilee. The last “extraordinary Jubilee,” also called by St. John Paul II, was in 1983, marking the 1950th anniversary of the Redemption.


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  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Mar. 14, 2015 6:14 AM ET USA

    This is great news. It allows us to get back to the core of the Gospel--preaching the enormity of sin but the greater power of God's loving kindness and faithfulness in Christ, through the ministry of the Church. A fitting piece of the puzzle set up by the new evangelization and the Pope's conviction that his service will be brief.