Pope Francis announced last Lent that the Universal Church would be celebrating an ‘Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy’ from December 8, 2015 until November 20, 2016.
What exactly is an ‘Extraordinary Jubilee?’ In biblical times, every fiftieth year was called a ‘jubilee year.’ During the jubilee prisoners were released, debts forgiven and the mercies of God were particularly manifested (Leviticus 25). As Christians, we know that the greatest bondage and debt we have is sin. And we also know that we are freed from sin by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Luke 4:18-19). For followers of Christ the jubilee year takes on new meaning. It is a time to invoke God’s mercy, to rejoice in it and to tell others about it.
Here are some things to look forward to this year:
Holy Doors: On December 13, 2015, Pope Francis will open a special door that is only opened in Jubilee Years at the Cathedral in Rome. At the same time, our own bishop will open a door at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fargo that will serve as our own Holy Door. The Holy Door is a symbol of Jesus Christ; he is the door through which we have access to God. There will also be Holy Doors established in different churches throughout the diocese.
Pilgrimage: During the Jubilee of Mercy, all of the faithful of the Diocese are encouraged to make a pilgrimage to the Cathedral or to the nearest church that has a Holy Door. Visiting the Holy Door isn’t magic. It is a sign of wanting to experience the mercy of God and to be merciful to others.
Works of Mercy: Jesus makes it very clear in the Gospel that since we have received the mercy of the Father, we are to be merciful to others in return. Pope Francis asks us to really dedicate ourselves this year to performing spiritual and corporal works of mercy. Throughout the year New Earth will highlight how various parishes in the Diocese are putting this call into action.
Jubilee Indulgence: The Holy Father wants all of the faithful to experience the mercy of God by receiving a special indulgence this year. It can be obtained by visiting the Holy Door at the Cathedral or at one of the other churches in the Diocese that has one, or by performing corporal and spiritual works of mercy. There will be more details to come about this indulgence and exactly what one must do to receive it.
24 Hours for the Lord: The Jubilee of Mercy will be a time to experience God’s mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. 24 Hours for the Lord is an initiative that Pope Francis started two years ago in which various churches throughout the world are open for 24 continuous hours with priests available to hear confession. This Lent he asks us to join him in our own celebration of 24 Hours for the Lord on March 5 and 6, 2016. We will, of course need to adapt it so it will work in our diocese.
All faithful in the Diocese of Fargo are encouraged to participate fully in the Jubilee of Mercy. It promises to be a time of deep personal conversion and renewed zeal in sharing God’s mercy with others.
- See more at: http://www.fargodiocese.org/Extraordinary-Jubilee-of-Mercy-a-time-of-deep-personal-conversion#sthash.x3n7203l.dpuf
Prayer for the Jubilee of Mercy
by Pope Francis
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. Amen.
in the Diocese of Fargo:
The Holy Doors in each church will be opened and blessed on Sunday, December 13th, 2015.
Deanery 1: Carmel of Mary, Wahpeton
Deanery 2: St. Mary Cathedral, Fargo
Deanery 3: St. Michael's, Grand Forks
Deanery 4: St. Stanislaus, Warsaw
Deanery 5: St. Joseph's, Devils Lake
Deanery 6: St. Cecelia's, Harvey
Deanery 7: St. Ann's, Belcourt
Deanery 8: St. James Basilica, Jamestown
Deanery 9: St. Philip's, Napoleon
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