January 1, 2016 - Mary, Mother of God, Year C
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
Seeing the great need for mercy and healing in the world, Pope Francis called for this to be a Year of Mercy. It is a time for the Church to focus on forgiveness and healing in a special way.
Pope Francis has asked us to be witnesses of mercy by reflecting on and practicing the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
This whole year has the power to transform our lives, our relationships, our work, and our ability to embrace and experience the mercy of God in our lives. You see, encountering mercy means encountering God.
So what is a Jubilee Year? A Jubilee Year is when the Catholic Church around the world to focus more deeply on forgiveness and healing in a special way.
During this Jubilee Year the whole church will focus more deeply on mercy by studying and reflecting on God’s loving mercy, on receiving mercy and on giving mercy by being merciful towards others.
This Year of Mercy called for by Our Holy Father Pope Francis provides us an opportunity to have an encounter with the heart of God. We have an opportunity to experience the incredible mercy of God.
Let us ask ourselves this question, “What should I do for the Year of Mercy?” There are several things we can do during this year to experience mercy more deeply:
First, we can pray for Pope Francis and we can pray the Prayer of Mercy that he has given us. Second, we can go on pilgrimage. Third we can reflect on and practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. And finally, we can go to confession.
By making a visit to a designated church or shrine, one can receive a Jubilee Indulgence. To receive the Jubilee Year Indulgence a person must perform the indulged act, which is passing through a designated Holy Door during the Jubilee Year or performing one corporal or one spiritual work of mercy.
It is necessary to be in a state of grace at the time the indulged act is performed. And each person can obtain one indulgence a day.
It is most fitting, but not necessary, that the Sacrament of Confession be received and Holy Communion also be received on the same day the indulged work is performed.
While at the designated shrine or church, one should pray an Our Father, a Hail Mary and the Apostles Creed while also praying for the intentions of the Holy Father.
Indulgences can be applied to oneself or to the souls of the deceased.
By making these indulgences so widely available, the Holy Father is hoping that the Jubilee Indulgence may reach each person as a genuine experience of God’s mercy.
As the pastor of one of the designated pilgrim shrines for this Jubilee Year. I want to wish you and all of your loved ones a happy and holy New Year, a year full of grace, a year full of mercy.