Francis announced an extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy
This Holy Year of Mercy will begin on 8 December to commemorate both the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the 50th
The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy will be a major event in the Catholic Church, held from the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8), 2015 to the Feast of Christ the King (November 20), 2016
Francis announced an extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy. Jesus said to St. Faustina: I cannot punish even the most hardened sinner, if he appeals to My Mercy. I want the whole world to know My Infinite Mercy.I want to give unimaginable graces to those who trust in My Mercy.”
In 1931 Our Lord appeared in Poland to a Catholic Nun, Sister M. Faustina Kowalska (1905–1938), in a vision. She saw Jesus clothed in a white garment with His right hand raised in blessing. His left hand was touching His garment in the area of the heart, from where two large rays came forth, one red and the other pale. Jesus said to her: "Paint an image according to the pattern you see with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You . . . I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over [it's] enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My Own Glory. I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for graces to the Fountain of Mercy. That vessel is this image with the signature: "Jesus, I trust in You" . . . I desire that this image be venerated throughout the world. "My Heart finds joy in forgiveness. I have no greater desire nor happiness than to be able to forgive . . . I cannot punish even the most hardened sinner, if he appeals to My Mercy. He is immediately granted pardon through My incomprehensible and unfathomable Mercy . . .
I open wide the doors of My Mercy.
Whoever will recite this Chaplet of the Divine Mercy will receive great mercy at the hour of death . . . Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this chaplet only once, he would receive grace from My infinite Mercy . . . I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My Mercy . . . Through the Chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My Will."
I cannot punish even the most hardened sinner, if he appeals to My Mercy. He is immediately granted pardon through My incomprehensible and unfathomable Mercy. Before I come as a Just Judge, I open wide the doors of My Mercy. He who does not wish to avail himself of My Mercy will have to pass through the doors of My Justice.
To you Sister Faustina I entrust in God's Name, a gift of My Father, The Two Divine Promises, which will gain for My chosen people a Heavenly Kingdom offered to Me by My Father for those who shall receive it, thanks to My immolation.
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy
While Our Lord has requested that we pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at 3:00 PM, He has also requested that we pray it many times a day.Jesus said later to Sister Faustina:
“Say unceasingly this Chaplet that I have taught you. Anyone who says it will receive great Mercy at the hour of death. Priests will recommend it to sinners as the last hope. Even the most hardened sinner, if he recites this Chaplet even once, will receive grace from My Infinite Mercy. I want the whole world to know My Infinite Mercy. I want to give unimaginable graces to those who trust in My Mercy.”
“When they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person not as the just judge but as the Merciful Savior”.
THE HOUR OF GREAT MERCY
In His revelations to Sister Faustina, Our Lord asked for special prayer and veneration for His Passion at the three o'clock hour, the hour that recalls His death on the Cross.
"At three o'clock, implore My Mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the hour of great mercy . . . in this hour I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion. As often as you hear the clock strike the third hour, immerse yourself completely in My Mercy, adoring and glorifying it; invoke it's omnipotence for the whole world, and particularly for poor sinners; for at that moment Mercy was opened wide for every soul. In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and for others for the asking; it was the hour of Grace for the whole world - Mercy triumphed over justice . . . "
THE SECOND COMING
OF JESUS CHRIST
Our Lord makes it very clear to Sister Faustina that this need to proclaim His Message of Mercy is urgent, because the world needs it as a preparation for His coming again:
"Speak to the world about My Mercy . . . It is a sign for the end times; after it will come the Day of Justice . . . You will prepare the world for My final coming . . . Tell souls about this Great Mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My Justice, is near."
Repeatedly the Lord tells Sister Faustina that He is offering sinners the "last hope of salvation". No matter how great our sins, He wants us to come back to Him, but we must respond now, while it is still the time of Mercy:
"Before the Day of Justice, I am sending the Day of Mercy . . . I am prolonging the time of Mercy for the sake of sinners. But woe to them if they do not recognize this time of My visitation . . . While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of My Mercy . . . He who refuses to pass through the door of My Mercy must pass through the door of My Justice."
THE TWO DIVINE PROMISES
To Sister Faustina, Jesus entrusted the Two Divine Promises. The Two Divine Promises are a bonfire of God's Immense Love, emerging from Polish soil, which will set the entire world on fire and prepare the human race for the Final Coming of Christ. (Please see 'The Two Divine Promises' segment). He said to Sister Faustina.
"To you I entrust in God's Name, a gift of My Father, The Two Divine Promises, which will gain for My chosen people a Heavenly Kingdom offered to Me by My Father for those who shall receive it, thanks to My immolation."
Like other previous jubilees, it will be a special, holy year of remission of sins and universal pardon, in this occasion focusing particularly on God's forgiveness and mercy. It is an extraordinary Jubilee because it had not been predetermined long before; usually ordinary jubilees take place every 25 years. In fact, the 2016 Jubilee was first announced by Pope Francis on March 13, 2015. It is the 27th Holy Year in history, following the ordinary 2000 Jubilee during John Paul II papacy. The opening day will also be the fiftieth anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council.
In prior months it was stressed that the Pontiff wishes the Jubilee to be celebrated not only in Rome but in all local churches around the world: for the first time holy doors will be open in single dioceses, either in the main cathedral or in local historical churches. It was also announced that all priests will be allowed to grant absolution for abortion, which outside North America, is reserved to bishops.
Pope Francis’ Prayer for the Holy Year of Mercy
Pope Francis has announced an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy in the Universal Church. This Holy Year of Mercy will begin on 8 December to commemorate both the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council, which called the Church to proclaim the Gospel to the world in new ways, bringing God’s mercy to everyone. The Year will conclude on 20 November 2016.
In a specially written prayer for the Year of Mercy, the Holy Father entreats the Lord to make the Jubilee of Mercy a year of grace so that the Church, “with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed, and restore sight to the blind.” The text of the prayer follows:
Pope Francis’ Prayer for the Year of Mercy
Lord Jesus Christ,
you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father,
and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him.
Show us your face and we will be saved.
Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money;
the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things;
made Peter weep after his betrayal,
and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.
Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman:
“If you knew the gift of God!”
You are the visible face of the invisible Father,
of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy:
let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.
You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness
in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error:
let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.
Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing,
so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord,
and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor,
proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed,
and restore sight to the blind.
We ask this through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy,
you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.
Misericordiae Vultus – The Face of Mercy
The bull is the fundamental document for the Holy Year that outlines the overall spirit and intentions for the Jubilee, as well as the spiritual fruits that are hoped for. The 28-page bull, titled “Misericordiae Vultus” or “The Face of Mercy” opens with the declaration, “Jesus is the face of the Father’s mercy. These words might well sum up the mystery of the Christian faith.”
In the document, Pope Francis says the Holy Year is “dedicated to living out in our daily lives the mercy” which God “constantly extends to all of us.” He explains the year will begin on 8 December to commemorate both the feast of the Immaculate Conception and the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council, which called the Church to proclaim the Gospel to the world in new ways, bringing God’s mercy to everyone.
After the Holy Door of St Peter’s is open on December 8, the Holy Doors of the other papal basilicas will be opened in subsequent days. As well, as a sign of communion of the whole Church, the pope has requested that every diocese in the world open a similar “Door of Mercy” for the local celebrations of the Jubilee.
The document develops three main themes:
First, Pope Francis elaborates the theological understanding of God’s mercy, explaining the role of mercy in the life of people and of the Church, who are both the beneficiaries and the witnesses to God’s mercy in the world.
“The mercy of God is not an abstract idea, but a concrete reality through which he reveals his love as that of a father or a mother, moved to the very depths out of love for their child,” the Pope writes.
“Mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life,” he continues. “The Church’s very credibility is seen in how she shows merciful and compassionate love.”
He recalls that the motto of the Holy Year is “Merciful like the Father.”
“Wherever the Church is present, the mercy of the Father must be evident,” he writes. “Wherever there are Christians, everyone should find an oasis of mercy.”
As a second theme, the Pope offers practical ways to live well the Holy Year: go on pilgrimage as an “impetus to conversion”; do not judge or condemn but forgive and give, avoiding gossip, envy and jealousy; have a heart open to the fringes of society and bring consolation, mercy and solidarity to people who live in precarious situations; take up the corporal and spiritual acts of mercy with joy; and observe the “24 Hours for the Lord” initiative, which encourages prayer and the sacrament of reconciliation, in every diocese during Lent.
He also addresses confessors, encouraging them to be “authentic signs of the Father’s mercy.” And, during Lent of the Holy Year, the Pope says he will send out “Missionaries of Mercy”–priests to whom he will grant “the authority to pardon even those sins reserved to the Holy See.” They will be “living signs of the Father’s readiness to welcome those in search of his pardon,” he writes.
As a third theme, the Pope issues particular calls for justice and conversion. He asks members of criminal organizations and those involved in corruption to change their lives and to embrace God’s mercy.
He also notes that both Judaism and Islam “consider mercy to be one of God’s most important attributes.” And he expresses “trust that this Jubilee… will foster an encounter” with these and other religions that will “open us to even more fervent dialogue” toward greater knowledge and understanding, “eliminate every form of closed-mindedness and disrespect and drive out every form of violence and discrimination.”
He also recalls the relationship between justice and mercy as “two dimensions of a single reality that…culminates in the fullness of love.”
“God does not deny justice,” he continues. “He rather envelopes it and surpasses it with an even greater event (mercy) in which we experience love as the foundation of true justice.”
The pope concludes the bull with an invocation to Mary, witness to God’s mercy and recalls saint who dedicated their lives to making God’s mercy known, namely the Polish St Faustina Kowalska.
As with all Jubilees, a plenary indulgence is granted during the Holy Year of Mercy for those who fulfill all of the usual requirements.
To read the Bull of Indiction for the Year of Mercy please click here.