Rome (Monday, 04-13-2015, Gaudium Press) Pope Francis has formally announced the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy during Solemn Vespers this evening in St. Peter’s basilica.
The Bull of Indiction, through which the announcement was made, was presented before the Holy Door of the basilica to a representative group of heads of the dicasteries of the Holy See.
The Jubilee will open on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8th, and end on the Feast of Christ the King on November 20th, 2016.
Excerpts of the Bull of Indiction “Misiceridocdiae Vultus” (below) were then read aloud by Msgr. Leonardo Sapienza of the prefecture of the papal household.
The Pope explains in the bull it is his “burning desire” that, during the Jubilee, “the Christian people may reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. It will be a way to reawaken our conscience, too often grown dull in the face of poverty.”
He adds that mercy is “the very foundation of the Church’s life” and that “all of her pastoral activity should be caught up in the tenderness she makes present to believers.” Francis later says that “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.”
In his homily at Vespers, he said “many question in their hearts: why a Jubilee of Mercy today? Simply because the Church, in this time of great historical change, is called to offer more evident signs of God’s presence and closeness.
“This is not the time to be distracted,” he continued. “On the contrary, we need to be vigilant and to reawaken in ourselves the capacity to see what is essential. This is a time for the Church to rediscover the meaning of the mission entrusted to her by the Lord on the day of Easter: to be a sign and an instrument of the Father’s mercy.”
Accompanying the Holy Father at the Holy Door were the archpriests of the four papal basilicas in Rome. To symbollically reach all the bishops of the world, the Holy Father also delivered a copy of the bull to the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Marc Ouellet; the prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Cardinal Fernando Filoni; the prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri.
On behalf of all the East, Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, born in Hong Kong and now secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, was presented with a copy. The African continent was represented by the Archbishop Barthélemy Adoukonou, a native of Benin and currently secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture. For the Oriental Churches, the Pope delivered the Bull to Mons. Khaled Ayad Bishay, the Patriarchal Church of Alexandria of the Copts.
Pope Francis then presided at the celebration of First Vespers of Divine Mercy Sunday. Here below is the Pope’s homily at vespers, followed by excerpts from the bull, and an explanatory note from the Vatican. The full text of the bull can be read here.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, The greeting of the Risen Christ to his disciples on the evening of Easter, “Peace be with you!” (Jn 20:19), continues to resound in us all. Peace, especially during this Easter season, remains the desire of so many people who suffer unprecedented violence of discrimination and death simply because they bear the name “Christian”. Our prayer is all the more intense and becomes a cry for help to the Father, who is rich in mercy, that he may sustain the faith of our many brothers and sisters who are in pain. At the same time, we ask for the grace of the conversion of our own hearts so as to move from indifference to compassion.
Saint Paul reminds us that we have been saved through the mystery of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. He is the Reconciler, who is alive in our midst offering the way to reconciliation with God and with each other. The Apostle recalls that, notwithstanding the difficulties and the sufferings of life, the hope of salvation which Christ has sown in our hearts nonetheless continues to grow. The mercy of God is poured out upon us, making us just and giving us peace.
Many question in their hearts: why a Jubilee of Mercy today? Simply because the Church, in this time of great historical change, is called to offer more evident signs of God’s presence and closeness. This is not the time to be distracted; on the contrary, we need to be vigilant and to reawaken in ourselves the capacity to see what is essential. This is a time for the Church to rediscover the meaning of the mission entrusted to her by the Lord on the day of Easter: to be a sign and an instrument of the Father’s mercy (cf. Jn 20:21-23). For this reason, the Holy Year must keep alive the desire to know how to welcome the numerous signs of the tenderness which God offers to the whole world and, above all, to those who suffer, who are alone and abandoned, without hope of being pardoned or feeling the Father’s love. A Holy Year to experience strongly within ourselves the joy of having been found by Jesus, the Good Shepherd who has come in search of us because we were lost. A Jubilee to receive the warmth of his love when he bears us upon his shoulders and brings us back to the Father’s house. A year in which to be touched by the Lord Jesus and to be transformed by his mercy, so that we may become witnesses to mercy. Here, then, is the reason for the Jubilee: because this is the time for mercy. It is the favourable time to heal wounds, a time not to be weary of meeting all those who are waiting to see and to touch with their hands the signs of the closeness of God, a time to offer everyone the way of forgiveness and reconciliation.
May the Mother of God open our eyes, so that we may comprehend the task to which we have been called; and may she obtain for us the grace to experience this Jubilee of Mercy as faithful and fruitful witnesses of Christ.
From National Catholic Register