Dear Parishioners and Visitors,
Remember Y2K? It’s hard to believe it’s been 16 years since December of 1999 when the whole world was looking forward to rolling the calendar forward to the year 2000. It was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of year, so that summer, Lynn and I decided to take part in a pilgrimage to Rome with other Catholics from our diocese hosted by Bishop Robert Banks.
In the year 2000, the Church celebrated a Jubilee… a Holy Year which occurs every 25 years. During that trip to Italy, we had the opportunity to prayerfully step through the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica, the Porta Sancta, which is only open during a Holy Year. The door was opened at the beginning of the Holy Year by Pope John Paul II, and at the end of that year, it was sealed with a wall of bricks from the inside. As far as we knew, that door would not be opened again until 2025.
That March 13, 2015, when Pope Francis announced:
“I have decided to announce an Extraordinary Jubilee which has at its center the mercy of God. It will be a Holy Year of Mercy. We want to live in the light of the word of the Lord: ‘Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful’ (Luke 6:36). And this especially applies to confessors! So much mercy!
This Holy Year will commence on the next Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and will conclude on Sunday, 20 November 2016, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe and living face of the Father’s mercy.”
So, the Porta Sancta will be opened by Pope Francis this Tuesday, December 8, when we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
We are all called to “be merciful, even as God our Father is merciful.” This might include forgiving ourselves for past actions we regret. Or, forgiving others who may have disappointed us, hurt us, or caused us great sorrow. This Holy Year will be a time to focus on living out the words of the Lord’s Prayer. . .‘”forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
How are you planning to live out the Holy Year of Mercy? How about starting this Extraordinary Jubilee year by participating in the Sacrament of Mercy . . . the Sacrament of Reconciliation? This sacrament is a wonderful opportunity to have a conversation with Jesus – – to share your regrets and to ask the Lord for His grace and His abundant mercy. It begins quite simply . . . “Bless me Father, I have sinned…”
Let us prepare our hearts to accept God’s mercy and to be a people full of mercy.
Many blessings to you and your family,
Deacon Mark Mullins