In a surprise statement at the conclusion of his homily Friday, Pope Francis proclaimed an extraordinary Jubilee; a Year to be called a Holy Year of Mercy beginning next December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. It will end on the Feast of Christ the King, November 20, 2016.
Expressing his intention that the Holy Year of Mercy might begin “a new stage in the journey of the Church on its mission to bring to every person the Gospel of mercy,” adding ” We want to live this Year in the light of the Lord’s words: ‘Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.'” (cf. Lk 6:36)
Mercy has been the emphasis of the Holy Father’s papacy and although the announcement of a Holy Year was unexpected, the choice of Mercy as its central theme is not. The Pope concluded, “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. From this moment, we entrust this Holy Year to the Mother of Mercy, that she might turn her gaze upon us and watch over our journey.
A Holy Year is a year of special blessings and includes special events in Rome beginning with the opening of the Holy Doors at St. Peter’s Basilica on Dec. 8, which are only opened during Jubilee Years. There will be special observances in the Diocese of Dallas at the Cathedral and in our parishes, to be announced.
I ask each of you to join your prayers with the Holy Fathers that this will indeed be a year of special blessings and an increase in the proclamation and application of God’s merciful love.