Jubilee of Mercy
On 11 April 2015, during the first Vespers of the Devine Mercy Sunday, Pope Francis published the bull, Misericordine Vultus, for the indiction of the Jubilee of Mercy. The holy year will commence on 8 December 15, feast of the Immaculate Conception, and will conclude on 20 November 2016, the solemnity of the Christ the King.
The extraordinary Holy Year will be centered on the mercy of God, as the Holy Father said “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)”
The Pope made three invitations: First, to receive personally the mercy of God by having a good confession: second, to extend our mercy to those who have sinned against us: third, to become missionaries of mercy throughout the world.
He said: “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.”
The Door of Mercy
The Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica will open on 8 December 2015, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and shall be closed on 20 November 2016, the solemnity of Christ the King, which will conclude the holy year.
For the first time in history, individual dioceses are encouraged to open The Holy Door of Mercy either in the cathedral, or in a church of special importance for pilgrimages.
The Jubilee of Mercy is to be celebrated in Rome as well as in the local Churches: in such a way that the initiatives will not place an extra burden of them, but will blend into their usual activities very naturally.
This Holy Year is extraordinary in the sense that it breaks the traditional 25-year pattern, like the other Extraordinary Jubilees of 1933 and 1983, which fell on Christ’s redemption.
On Ash Wednesday, Pope Francis will give the mandate to the Missionaries of Mercy, who must be patient priests, understanding human frailty, and ready to express the loving kindness of the Good Shepherd in their preaching and in the Sacrament of confession.
The Jubilee Logo
The Logo of the Jubilee of Mercy, which was designed by the
Jesuit priest Marko Rupnik, represents Jesus as the Good Shepherd, taking upon his shoulders the lost sheep (cf. Luke 15:15). The right eye of the shepherd merges with the left eye of the sheep to signify the profound intimacy of the two. Because of the incarnation, Christ sees with the eyes of man, and together they contemplate the love of the Father.
The scene is captured within the so-called, Mandorla Mistica, or “mystic almond,” which in art calls to mind the two natures of Christ. The almond shape is formed by intersecting two circles, which represents the union of the two natures in one person. The three concentric ovals, with colors progressively lighter, suggest the movement of Christ who carries humanity out of the night of sin and death.
The motto which accompanies the logo, Merciful like the Father,
is taken from the gospel: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful”
( Luke 6:36 ). It is an invitation to follow the merciful example of the Father, who asks to give love and forgiveness without measure.
The Major Events
These are major events to be celebrated in Rome and around the world.
December 9, 2015: Opening of the Holy Door in Rome and local dioceses
January 19-20: Jubilee for pilgrimage organizers.
April 3: Jubilee of movements, associations, and religious institutes, inspired by a charism of mercy.
April 24: Jubilee of confirmandi.
May 29: Jubilee of deacons, whose vocation are the works of mercy.
June 3: Jubilee of priests, on the 160th anniversary of the Sacred Heart.
June 12: Jubilee of the sick and disabled, as well as for their caregivers.
July 26-31: World Youth Day, which will be held in Krakow, Poland.
September 4: Jubilee of charitable volunteers, who give dynamic witness to the work of mercy.
September 25: Jubilee of catechists.
October 9: Jubilee for Marian institutions.
November 6: Jubilee of prisoners.
November 20: closing of the Holy Door and conclusion of the Jubilee Year of Mercy
Pope Francis envisions of the Christians as reaching out to the
Geo-graphical and existential peripheries of society, to witness the Church’s love and care for the poor, the suffering, and the marginalized.
During the Jubilee Year, concrete events should be organized in favor of the outcast and the needy. In particular, bishops and priests are invited to perform in their dioceses similar symbolic gestures of communion with Pope Francis, so that everyone may receive a concrete sign of the Church’s ministry of mercy.
As the Holy Father wrote in the Evangelii Gaudium: “A church which ‘goes forth’ is a church whose doors are open. Going out to others in order to reach the fringes of humanity does not mean rushing out aimlessly into the world. Often it is better simply to slow down, to put aside our eagerness in order to see and listen to others, to remain with someone who has faltered along the way. At times, we have to be like the father of the prodigal son, who always keeps his door open so that when the son returns, he can readily pass through it. Let us go forth, then. Let us go forth to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ.”
The Jubilee is a time of grace and conversation to be celebrated ordinarily every 25 years, and extraordinarily whenever the Pope so decides. The name originates from the Hebrew word, yobhel,or ”ram’s horn,” that, in the Old Testament, was blown to announce the beginning of the Holy Year. It was St.Jerome(347-420 AD) who translated, yobhel, into the Latin, jubilaeum, meaning “rejoicing.”
The first Christian Jubilee was celebrated by Pope Boniface VIII in 1300 AD, as a centenary observance. In 1343. Clement VI reduced the interval to 50 years: and in 1470, Paul II further reduced it to 25 years.
To gain the Planery Indulgence, the faithful have to visit a designated church and perform four works of piety, namely: 1) general confession: 2) participation of the Holy Mass: 3) Prayer for the intension of the pope: 4) and a deed of charity.
Until 1500, the Jubilee Indulgence could be gained only in the four Roman Major Basilicas (St. Peter, St.Paul, St. John, St. Mary Major);
Thereafter, it was extended to the minor basilicas, the cathedrals, and designated shrines throughout the world.
Jubilee in the Bible
The old Testament Jews were commanded to celebrate a Sabbatical Year every seven years, and the Jubilee year every 50. During the Holy Year, the slaves were released from bondage: all debts were remitted: and the land to be left uncultivated. It was called “Jubilee” because it started with the blowing of the yobhel, or ram’s horn (cf. Leviticus 25).
Jesus Christ brought the Jubilee Year to a higher level: from remittance of material debts and time for physical rest, to a year of freedom from the slavery of sin and of starting the new life of grace. As he announced: “The spirit of the lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19).
The Jubilee is a time for conversion, and should not be taken for granted, since it could be our last chance of repentance: as Jesus said in the parable of the fruitless fig tree: “Leave it alone for one more year and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down” ( Luke 13:8-9 ).
1300 : Boniface VIII instituted the first Christian Jubilee, to be celebrated every 100 years.
1350 : Clement VI reduced the interval to 50 years.
1450 : Nicholas V introduced the Opening of the Holy Door in St.John Letran
1475 : Sixtus IV reduced the interval to 25 years.
1500 : Alexander VI introduced the Holy Door in St. Peter’s Basilica.
1675 : Inauguration of the Bernini Colonnade in St, Peter’s Basilica, to signify the Church’s embrace for all peoples.
1725 : Liberation of slaves; 572 crosses were erected in Rome, including one in the Colosseum.
1950 : During the Jubilee, Pius XII declared the dogma of the Assumption of Mary.
2000 : The jubilee of the 3rd Millennium was extended to the minor basilicas, cathedrals, and special shrines throughout the world.
2016 : The Jubilee Year of Mercy is intended to bring God’s Mercy to all people. Local dioceses can have their own Holy Door.
The indulgence is the remission of the temporal punishment (the contingent penalty), due to sin whose guilt and eternal punishment ( the damnation to Hell), have been forgiven in the sacrament of Penance, The temporal punishment can be expiated through Prayer, fasting, works of mercy, the sufferings of purgatory, or by gaining an indulgence.
An indulgence can be partial or plenary, referring to whether the remission of the temporal punishment is limited or complete. Indulgences are applied to the living permodum absolutionist (as a grant): to the dead per modum suffragii (as a supplication).
In order to gain the plenary Jubilee Indulgence, for oneself or for a soul, the faithful must personally visit a designated church and perform four deeds: 1) Confession 2) Participation in the holy mass and reception of Holy Communion: 3) Prayer for the intentions of the pope: 4) Fulfilling a Corporal of Spiritual Work of Mercy.
The Indulgence can be acquired only once a day. Sick people, unable to visit a church, can perform the four requirements and gain the plenary indulgence in any place.
How to Confess
Priest: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit.
Penitent: Amen. Father, forgive me for I have sinned. I am … (State of life). My last confession was last …. My sins are the following ….
Priest: He gives the proper advice and an act of penance.
Penitent: O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you. And I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell. But most of all because I offended you my god, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of your grace to confess my, sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen
Priest: God, Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son, has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins: in the name of the father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.
Priest: The Lord has freed you from your sins. Go in peace.
Penitent: Thanks be to God.
Corporal Works of Mercy
Mercy, which is the virtue of having compassion for another’s misfortune, is the daughter of charity: thus, the more we love, the more sympathetic we become. Since humans are synthesis of body and soul, it is customary to distinguish between the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
The last judgement will concern the corporal works of mercy: as Jesus said: “I was hungry and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me. Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (cf. Matthew 25:35-36, 40).
The corporal works of mercy are:
- To feed the hungry:
- To give drink to the thirsty:
- To clothe the naked:
- To welcome the strangers:
- To attend to the sick:
- To visit the prisoners:
- To bury the dead.
Spiritual Works of Mercy
The spiritual works of mercy are intended for eternal salvation, oblige in accordance with our capacity and means, and are recommended by the bible.
- To instruct the ignorant: “Whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 5:19).
- To counsel the doubtful: “Where there is no guidance, a person falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety “(Proverbs 11:14).
- To admonish sinners: “You should correct the sinner in a gentle spirit” (Galatians 6:1).
- To bear wrong patiently: “Love is patient and kind” (1 Cor. 13.4).
- To forgive offences willingly: “If you forgive other people, your heavenly Father will forgive you” (Mt. 6:14).
- To comfort the afflicted: “That we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction” (2 Cor. 1:3-4).
- To pray for the living and the dead: “To pray for the dead is a holy and pious thought” (2 Macc. 12:44-45).