In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Nov 26, 2015

A pilgrim people in the Jubilee Year of Mercy

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Jubilee of Mercy begins on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, December 8, 2015, and concludes on the Feast of Christ the King, November 20, 2016. Pope Francis declared that the Jubilee of Mercy is a unique time for the whole people of God to encounter the face of mercy in Jesus Christ, and to reveal the mercy of the Father to all people in order that the Joy of the Gospel may be experienced. WHAT IS MERCY? Many of us tend to think of “mercy” as feeling sorry for someone; having compassion or sympathy, or even asking for forgiveness—'have mercy on me. But it is more than this. The word has a much deeper meaning. Offering mercy means that we freely enter into the other person’s chaos or suffering. We feel the other person’s pain, see through their eyes, and place ourselves inside the other person’s heart and mind. When that happens, we are moved to respond in a merciful way.

Pilgrimage

The Holy Door of Mercy will be opened at St. Andrew’s Cathedral on December 13, 2015, at the 11 AM Mass, and will be formally closed on Sunday, November 13, 2016, according to the instructions and rituals proposed by the Holy Father. This Holy Door of Mercy will represent a threshold of new life for the People of God. All those who enter through this Holy Door of Mercy, whether as a group or individually, will receive abundant grace and an opportunity for a fresh encounter with Christ. The Jubilee year provides for the faithful—living and deceased—a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions: 

  • Confession within 8 days
  • Celebration of Holy Eucharist with reception of Holy Communion
  • Praying the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer
  • Prayer for the Holy Father and his intentions, for the good of the Church and theentire world
  • Praying the Jubilee of Mercy Prayer
  • Invoking the Divine Mercy, “Jesus, I trust in You”

All those who are homebound and infirm may participate fully and receive the graces of the pilgrimage and Holy Door of Mercy by participating in the prayers—even through means of television and computer links. All prison chapels are also designated pilgrim sites for those incarcerated. Parish groups are invited to accompany their pastors on a parish pilgrimage to St. Andrew’s Cathedral. Opportunities for a celebration of a Liturgy of Mercy and the Sacrament of Reconciliation can be provided. Kindly notify the parish staff at the Cathedral in advance so that a date and time can be identified and adequate materials may be provided for the celebrations. If groups are planning a pilgrimage without their pastor then it is especially important that the Cathedral staff be notified well in advance so that suitable arrangements can be made. The Sacrament of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist are the greatest treasures and gifts Christ has given to us poor pilgrims on the journey. The Sacrament of Anointing should be celebrated frequently for the infirm of mind, body and spirit throughout the Diocese. It would be appropriate during this Holy Year to celebrate this Sacrament communally, especially on February 11, 2016, the World Day of Prayer for the Sick.Let us pray often in solidarity the Prayer of Pope Francis for the Jubilee, which you will find printed at the end of this letter. May we embark together on this Jubilee Year of Mercy in solidarity with our Holy Father to promote and offer an experience of mercy to all those we encounter. In Communion, 

Most Reverend Gary Gordon 
Bishop of Victoria 

 


The Works of Mercy

The Corporal Works of Mercy focus on physical needs: 

  • To feed the hungry
  • To give drink to the thirsty
  • To clothe the naked
  • ‚ÄčTo shelter the homeless
  • To visit the sick
  • To visit the imprisoned
  • To bury the dead

The Spiritual Works of Mercy centre on spiritual and emotional needs: 

  • To instruct the ignorant
  • To counsel the doubtful
  • To admonish sinners
  • To bear wrongs patiently
  • To forgive offences willingly
  • To comfort the afflicted
  • To pray for the living and the dead

Prayer of Pope Francis for the Jubilee 

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 of you, Lord Jesus, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy;
you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen. 


Resources 

  • A resource affordable to all is the publication entitled “Magnificat: Year of Mercy Companion”; for a freecopy visit: www.magnificat.com/freecopy
  • The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization has produced as series of booklets as Pastoral Resources for Living the Jubilee, which I would recommend to pastors and parish liturgical committees as aids in preparing suitable celebrations.
  • Additional information on devotion to Divine Mercy can be found at: www.thedivinemercy.org
  • Brochure entitled Eight Ways to Live a Merciful Life; B. Broughton Company Ltd.
    To order phone: 1-800-268-4449
  • Click here to access the Vatican's webpage about the Jubilee Year of Mercy

~ Download the Pastoral Letter

 

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