The Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy
During a Lenten penitential service on March 13, 2015, Pope Francis announced an extraordinary Jubilee to begin on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 2015, and close on the Solemnity of Christ the King, November 20, 2016. Mercy is a theme dear to the Pope's heart and he said that through this observance, he desired that the Church make clear its mission of being a "witness of mercy."
The Holy Year's theme is from Luke 6:36, in which Jesus tells his disciples, "Be merciful as your Father is merciful." The pontiff is convinced that the entire Church will be able to find in this Jubilee the joy of rediscovering and making fruitful God's mercy. It is appropriate that the Gospel that will be proclaimed during Ordinary Time this year is that of St. Luke, the "evangelist of mercy." It is St. Luke who gives us the well known parables of mercy: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the merciful Father (the Prodigal Son).
Each of the four papal basilicas in Rome has a holy door, which are normally sealed shut from the inside so they cannot be opened. The doors are only opened during Jubilee years so that pilgrims can enter through them in order to gain the plenary indulgence that is connected with the Jubilee. This is intended to symbolize the idea that the Church's faithful are offered an "extraordinary path" toward salvation during the time of Jubilee.
The Catholic tradition of practicing the Holy Year began with Pope Boniface VIII in 1300, and since 1475 an Ordinary Jubilee has been celebrated every 25 years in order to allow each generation to experience at least one during their lifetime.
The Holy Year is traditionally a year of forgiveness of sins and also the punishment merited by one's sins. It is also a year for reconciliation between enemies, conversion, and receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Mercy, the Pope recently said, "is the best thing we can feel: it changes the world. A little mercy makes the world less cold and more just. We need to understand properly this mercy of God, this merciful Father who is so patient."
Our Parish Observances during the Holy Year:
- Confession Time will be extended effective December 19
In addition to Saturday afternoon confessions, the Sacrament of Penance will be offered on Saturday mornings immediately following the 9:00 AM Mass at Our Lady of Sorrows.
- Creole Holy Hour for the Year of Mercy
From December 18 to November 18, a holy hour will be held in Creole every Friday at St. Anthony Church. Times may vary, depending on scheduled wedding rehearsals.
Other events will be announced throughout the year.