Our Advent season has begun and we thank all who participated this past week in our Advent Mission. On Tuesday we will celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception. It is a Holy Day of Obligation as we honor the Blessed Virgin Mary who was preserved from all stain of original sin. This day also marks the beginning of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy called for by Pope Francis. The Catholic Publication, Our Sunday Visitor, reminds us that on “the feast of the Immaculate Conception and the 50th anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Francis will open a Holy Door in St. Peter’s Basilica that remains sealed except during jubilee years. When he crosses the threshold, this door will become a ‘Door of Mercy.’ In the weeks that follow, Holy Doors will be opened by cardinals and bishops in basilicas, cathedrals, and shrines all over the world.”
In announcing this Year of Mercy, Pope Francis would like to see not only Catholics but all Christian people of good will become more merciful in their own lives and bring God’s mercy to others. He stated, “It is my burning desire that, during this Jubilee, the Christian people may reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. It will be a way to reawaken our conscience, too often grown dull in the face of poverty. And let us enter more deeply into the heart of the gospel where the poor have a special experience of God’s mercy. Jesus introduces us to these works of mercy in his preaching so that we can know whether or not we are living as his disciples. Let us rediscover these corporal works of mercy: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead. And let us not forget the spiritual works of mercy: to counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the afflicted, forgive offences, bear patiently those who do us ill and pray for the living and the dead.”
Pope Francis also stated that the Jubilee Year will be “dedicated to living out in our daily lives the mercy which the Father constantly extends to all of us. In this Jubilee Year, may the Church echo the word of God that resounds strong and clear as a message and a sign of pardon, strength, aid, and love. May she never tire of extending mercy, and be ever patient in offering compassion and comfort.”
We will have a Holy Hour for Mercy on Wednesday, December 9th, at 7 pm. in our Day Chapel to reflect on the sentiments so eloquently expressed by Our Holy Father. We will also have additional opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation during Advent and special events and activities during the year to celebrate this Year of Mercy.
We invite you to embrace this opportunity to participate in this Year of Mercy especially at this time as we await the coming of the Christ Child.