The Year of Mercy – Merciful like the Father
Pope Francis has proclaimed a Jubilee Year of Mercy that will open 8th December 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception; and close on Christ the King Sunday 2016
He has chosen the date of 8th December also because it will be the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council.
There will, of course, be many events in Rome and with the Bishop of Rome, beginning with the opening of the Holy Door in St. Peter’s Basilica. However, Pope Francis has asked his brother bishops to involve each local church in living out the Jubilee and to open a Door of Mercy in their own cathedrals and other places of pilgrimage.
On the Third Sunday of Advent, 13th December, 2015 I will open our Door of Mercy before the 10am Mass in the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. John. This will also be the day when the bells will ring out again from the restored tower, marking the completion of the first stage of our Cathedral’s renewal. That afternoon, I will also open a Door of Mercy in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Carcoar, recognising our Shalom Diocesan House of Prayer as a place of pilgrimage.
As the Pope has asked that this Year of Mercy be celebrated both in Rome and in the Particular Churches, I ask each parish in the Diocese of Bathurst to be involved.
I have written a Pastoral Letter, entitled God the Father of Mercies. As you may recognise from its title, the Letter emphasises the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Pope Francis has asked that this Sacrament be placed at the centre of our observance of the Jubilee, that bishops celebrate it with their people and that they and all confessors be authentic signs of the Father’s mercy.
Finally, I pray that this year will be a grace for all the faithful. We all need God’s mercy: and cannot speak of it credibly unless we have accepted it ourselves.
Bishop of Bathurst