Thursday, December 3, 2015

Jubilee Year of Mercy

Tuesday December 8, 2015 marks the beginning of the Jubilee Year of Mercy - which will run for a full year until its closing on the Solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe: November 20, 2016.

I am so excited about this year for two BIG reasons:

First, my husband and I experienced a major life-altering conversion during the Jubilee Year 2000, so I understand first hand just how powerful the graces are that flow during these Jubilee Years.

Second,  after spending nearly 20 years away from the Lord and His church wandering through life in darkness, I have also experienced the healing and transformative power of God's mercy.  Of all the attributes of God, his Mercy is the one that I call upon the most frequently. It is through God's Mercy that I have come to profoundly encounter all his other attributes: love, goodness, power and beauty.

What is a Jubilee Year?
The celebration of a Jubilee Year dates all the way back to the Israelites who celebrated on ever fifty years as a time of universal pardon.  Leviticus 25:10 instructs the Israelites to: "Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you..."

Pope Boniface the VIII convened the celebration of the first Catholic Jubilee in the year 1300 and during this year, pardon for sin could be received "by visiting the city of Rome and the venerable basilica of the Prince of the Apostles".

With a few exceptions a Jubilee Year has been celebrated by the Church every 50 years since 1450. Each Jubilee Year has been a time of grace, renewal and conversion for the whole Church.

For more info on the origins of the Jubilee Year visit Catholic Encyclopedia (source for all the above)

When was the last Jubilee Year?
The last Jubilee Year was convened by Saint John Paul II to celebrate the turn of the millennium in the Year 2000.  At the conclusion of that Jubilee Year, Pope John Paul II issued the Apostolic Letter: Novo Millennio Inuente, in which he documented his plan for the Church as she entered the new millennium.  His opening words of that letter challenge the church with Jesus' own words to the apostles: "duc in altum" - put out into the deep. Those words continue to challenge us today to be on mission to make disciples.

The theme of the Great Jubilee of 2000 was Christ: Yesterday, Today, Forever as displayed on the Jubilee logo:

Why a Year of Mercy?
Pope Francis, in the Apostolic Letter Misericordie Vultus (which is the Papal bull which calls for the Year of Mercy) says "We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy." He goes on a little further to point out that at certain "...times we are called to gaze even more attentively on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives."

The Holy Father stresses the importance of mercy in the life of the church saying:
"Mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life. All of her pastoral activity should be caught up in the tenderness she makes present to believers; nothing in her preaching and in her witness to the world can be lacking in mercy. The Church’s very credibility is seen in how she shows merciful and compassionate love."
The Year of Mercy provides an opportunity for every Catholic not only to focus with gratitude and prayer on the gift of God's mercy to them personally, but also to be witnesses of that mercy to a world in desperate need of it. Pretty awesome plan if you ask me!

What is the theme, logo and website for the Year of Mercy?

The theme for the Year of Mercy is "Merciful Like the Father" and the logo depicts Jesus, the Good Shepherd carrying the lost sheep on his shoulders.


Watch Pope Francis explain the reasons for the Jubilee Year of Mercy in this short video:


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  1. What a great break down about the upcoming year of mercy. It was very helpful in getting ready for the year of jubilee! Thanks for posting.

    1. Thanks for visiting Amy! I am really excited for the Year of Mercy! God bless!