A “Jubilee of Mercy” announced by the Pope
ROME– On Sunday 12 April 2015 the Church observed the 2nd Sunday of Easter, transformed into “Sunday of the Divine Mercy” by Pope John Paul II. On this occasion, Pope Francis published the Bull proclaiming a Jubilee of Mercy in 2015-2016.
During the first Sunday Vespers, celebrated on Saturday evening, next to the Holy Door of Basilica of St Peter of Rome, Pope Francis proclaimed the Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. This Bull brings forth a light on the meaning of the Jubilee Year and its conditions.
Why a Holy Year? “Simply because Church, in this moment of substantial changes of time, is called – explained the Pope – to show strong signs of presence and proximity to God”.
In the Bull, Pope writes that “the Church’s very credibility is seen in how she shows merciful and compassionate love. The Church has an endless desire to show mercy. Perhaps we have long since forgotten how to show and live the way of mercy […] On the other hand, sad to say , we must admit that the practice of mercy is waning in the wider culture. In some cases the word seems to have dropped out of use. The time has come for the Church to take up the joyful call to mercy once more”.
The Jubilee Year will be inaugurated on 8 December 2015, day of the Immaculate Conception, and will end a year later on Christ the King Feast day, 20 november 2016.
“Need in the diocese to touch the hearts”
Traditionally, a Holy Year starts by the opening of the Holy Door of the four major basilicas of Rome. For a wider fellowship, and in order that the jubilee be celebrated on a local level, the Holy Father asked that a door be opened in each diocese. In the Holy Land, it is possible that several doors may be opened, after that of the Co-Cathedral, at the major Holy Places like Bethlehem or Nazareth.
“We need to recall God’s mercy, says Mgr Shomali, Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem. “It is an appeal addressed to non Christians for mercy is a theme common to Jews and to Moslems who refer to God the Merciful”.
Various activities will be implemented in the diocese to live up this mercy, and to acquire, in order “to touch the hearts, so that all may acquire yet more mercy”, according to Mgr Shomali.
The activities will not be restricted to just local Christians, but will also involve the many pilgrims coming to the Holy Land who will have the chance to deepen the mystery of Divine Mercy at the sites of death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Some more months are awaiting us to complete preparations for a year which will mark the 50th anniversary of the conclusion of Vatican Council II. Pope Francis, in the Bull, reminds the entire Church through this plea which we should bring up: “That’s the favorable time to change life! It is the time to be touched in the heart”.
Pierre Loup de Raucourt.