Pope Francis announces Jubilee Year of Mercy

Pope Francis has announced a Jubilee Year of Mercy in order to celebrate God’s forgiveness.

The “extraordinary Holy Year” will take place from December 8, 2015, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, to November 20, 2016, the Feast of Christ the King.

Announcing the closing date, the Pope added a new term to the title of Christ celebrated that day, also calling Jesus “the living face of the mercy of the Father”.

Jubilee years come with the offer of an indulgence to pilgrims and start with the opening of the “Holy Door” of St Peter’s Basilica, which is normally closed.

Ordinary jubilee years take place every 25 years while an extraordinary one can be announced to mark a particular event.

The last ordinary jubilee year was in 2000 and the previous extraordinary one was in 1983, to celebrate 1950 years since the death and Resurrection of Jesus.

The Jubilee Year of Mercy will take place on the fiftieth anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council in 1965.

The year is seen as continuing the work of the council.

The Pope announced the jubilee year during a Lenten penitential service on March 13, which was the second anniversary of his election as Pontiff.

He said the whole Church “will find in this jubilee the joy to rediscover and render fruitful the mercy of God, with which we are all called to give consolation to every man and woman of our time”.

The Pope also said he wants the Church to live the upcoming holy year “in the light” of Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Luke: “Be merciful, just as your father is merciful.”

Francis has made mercy a central theme of his papacy.

His 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium mentions “mercy” 32 times.

Last year’s extraordinary synod on the family is known to have discussed how the Church might use its teachings on mercy to address sometimes difficult contemporary family situations, such as divorce and remarriage and same-sex unions.

Mercy is expected to be a theme in the synod on the family in October.

Sources

News category: World.

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