Pope Francis announces a Holy Year of Mercy!
In the words of Pope Francis:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, I have often thought of how the Church may render more clear her mission to be a witness to mercy; and we have to make this journey.
It is a journey which begins with spiritual conversion. Therefore, I have decided to announce an Extraordinary Jubilee which has at its centre the mercy of God.
It will be a Holy Year of Mercy. We want to live in the light of the word of the Lord: “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (cf. Lk 6:36). And this especially
applies to confessors! So much mercy!
This Holy Year will commence on the next Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, December 8th, 2015, and will conclude on Sunday, 20 November 2016, the Solemnity of
Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe and living face of the Father's mercy. I entrust the organization of this Jubilee to the Pontifical Council
for Promoting the New Evangelization, in order that it may come to life as a new step on the Church’s journey in her mission to bring the Gospel of mercy
to each person.
I am confident that the whole Church, which is in such need of mercy for we are sinners, will be able to find in this Jubilee the joy of rediscovering and
rendering fruitful God’s mercy, with which we are all called to give comfort to every man and every woman of our time. Do not forget that God forgives all,
and God forgives always. Let us never tire of asking forgiveness. Let us henceforth entrust this Year to the Mother of Mercy, that she turn her gaze upon us
and watch over our journey: our penitential journey, our year-long journey with an open heart, to receive the indulgence of God, to receive the mercy of God.
In conjunction with this ‘Holy Year of Mercy’ you may have noticed the ‘Divine Mercy’ Shrine located in the right front of our beautiful church here at
The message of The Divine Mercy is simple. It is that God loves us — all of us. And, he wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so
that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others. Thus, all will come to share His joy. The Divine Mercy
message is one we can call to mind simply by remembering ABC:
- Ask for His Mercy. God wants us to approach Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and asking Him to pour His mercy out upon
us and upon the whole world.
- Be merciful. God wants us to receive His mercy and let it flow through us to others. He wants us to extend love and forgiveness to
others just as He does to us.
- Completely trust in Jesus. God wants us to know that the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our trust. The more we trust in Jesus,
the more we will receive.
This message and devotion to Jesus as The Divine Mercy is based on the writings of Saint Faustina Kowalska, an uneducated Polish nun who, in obedience to
her spiritual director, wrote a diary of about 600 pages recording the revelations she received about God's mercy. Even before her death in 1938, the
devotion to The Divine Mercy had begun to spread.
The devotion was actively promoted by Pope John Paul II. On April 30, 2000, the Canonization of Faustina Kowalska took place and the Sunday after Easter
was officially designated as the Sunday of the Divine Mercy. On April 22, 2001, which was one year after establishing Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope John Paul
II re-emphasized its message in the resurrection context of Easter:
Jesus said to St. Faustina one day: "Humanity will never find peace until it turns with trust to Divine Mercy". Divine Mercy! This is the Easter gift that
the Church receives from the risen Christ and offers to humanity.”
The devotion to Divine Mercy Sunday grew rapidly after its designation by Pope John Paul II and is now widely celebrated by Catholics. The Divine Mercy
image, displayed in the right front of our church, is surrounded by the images of Saint Faustina and Saint Pope John Paul II.
As the Church prepares for the beginning of the ‘Holy Year of Mercy’, try to spend some time to learn more about the mercy of God, learning to trust in
Jesus, and learning to live life as merciful to others, as Christ is merciful to all of us.