Year Of Mercy

Introduction

Pope Francis has inaugurated a Jubilee of Mercy calling on all Catholics and indeed the whole world to reflect and build up a more merciful approach to our lives and to our world. To live a merciful life is to live the divine life as expressed through Christ on earth. As Pope Francis says using the words of Pope Emeritus Benedict, “The name of God is mercy”.

Pope Francis writes:

“With the approach of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, I would like to focus on several points which I believe require attention to enable the celebration of the Holy Year to be for all believers a true moment of encounter with the mercy of God. It is indeed my wish that the Jubilee be a living experience of the closeness of the Father, whose tenderness is almost tangible, so that the faith of every believer may be strengthened and thus testimony to it be ever more effective. My thought first of all goes to all the faithful who, whether in individual Dioceses or as pilgrims to Rome, will experience the grace of the Jubilee. I wish that the Jubilee Indulgence may reach each one as a genuine experience of God’s mercy, which comes to meet each person in the Face of the Father who welcomes and forgives, forgetting completely the sin committed. To experience and obtain the Indulgence, the faithful are called to make a brief pilgrimage to the Holy Door, open in every Cathedral or in the churches designated by the Diocesan Bishop, and in the four Papal Basilicas in Rome, as a sign of the deep desire for true conversion. Likewise, I dispose that the Indulgence may be obtained in the Shrines in which the Door of Mercy is open and in the churches which traditionally are identified as Jubilee Churches. It is important that this moment be linked, first and foremost, to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and to the celebration of the Holy Eucharist with a reflection on mercy. It will be necessary to accompany these celebrations with the profession of faith and with prayer for me and for the intentions that I bear in my heart for the good of the Church and of the entire world.”

The Year of Mercy At St. Louis de Montfort Church

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Here at St Louis de Montfort parish we have been blessed by the request of Archbishop Jose Gomez to be the northernmost Pilgrim Church for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. This means that a Holy Door was proclaimed and opened on the 3rd Sunday of Advent and it is a church of indulgence. As Parish Priest, I formally blessed and opened the Holy Door at the Front of the Church and the whole parish walked through it, thereby symbolically starting our own pilgrimage of growth in the mercy and love of God the Father through his Son in the grace of the Holy Spirit.

Pictures from the blessing of the Holy Door can be seen here.

What Is An Indulgence?

It is a release from the temporal punishment of sins, to be undergone because of our sins and our attachment to them. It is not forgiveness; you have to receive the sacrament of reconciliation for that. Nor is it release from purgatory but it is an expression of God’s indulgent love for the truly penitent sinner. God works with us on the damages our sins cause in ourselves and on the ones we have sinned against, as well as on our attachment to sin.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM, describes it well with a story:

“I want to mention something about indulgences, which are often misunderstood. Indulgences are not forgiveness for sin but forgiveness for temporal punishment due to sin. I like to explain it to people with the following story: As a child, once I came home very late for dinner. My mother was very upset, and seeing how upset she was, I felt very repentant and I told her that it would never happen again. She told me she forgave me, but as my punishment I would have to do the dishes. So there was repentance and forgiveness, but there was still punishment.  But, as I started doing the dishes, my nana came in and said, ‘I will help you.’ That is an indulgence”.

God loves us and he forgives us, but in His justice there is still some punishment for sin. The indulgence is when the infinitely loving merits and the redeeming sufferings of Jesus and the saints are applied to that punishment, and release us from it.

How Do We Go About Receiving An Indulgence?

We do it by encountering the grace of God’s merciful love through the making of a pilgrimage to a Church designated with a Holy Door of Mercy. When we are there we undertake sacramental moments of encounter with God our merciful Father and make a personal commitment to a renewed closer following of Christ His Son in the Church and a real desire to be free from sin.

Pope Francis teaches that if we do the following we will gain a plenary indulgence for our sins.
Before we go on the pilgrimage we need to prepare for it. We need to spend time in personal prayer to strengthen our resolve to strive to be free from any attachment to sin, especially any we know we habitually are prone to committing. Then visit a pilgrim church for the Year of Mercy such as ours and whilst there:

1. Enter via the Holy Door
2. Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation (a priest may visit the homebound or ill)
3. Receive Holy Communion at Mass (the sick and home bound can just receive)
4. Pray the Creed
5. Offer prayers for the intentions and ministry of Pope Francis

 

 

(Note that it is preferable to do all these things on the same day. If however you cannot complete all of these elements then you can offer them within a short time, up to 20 days). So, for instance, if you can do everything but are not able to attend Mass and receive communion then you can go to Mass at another time or place, preferably not your normal Sunday observance ie make the effort to go to another weekday Mass)


1. The Holy Door

2. The Sacrament of Reconciliation

3. Receiving Holy Communion at Mass

4. Reciting the Creed

5. Praying for the Pope and His Intentions

Upcoming Events For The Year Of Mercy

Over the next year, St. Louis will host a number of events focused on mercy. Below are the general themes planned for each month. More information will be posted once details have been finalized.

Click on the titles in bold for event date & time.
January: Mercy, the Heart of the Gospel talk given by Fr. Aidan Peter

The Bible is the story of God’s merciful love

February: Encountering the Merciful Christ mission given by Fr. Aidan Peter

3 day mission: A Walk through the Mass

March: Reconciliation, Merciful Forgiveness 24 hr Vigil

24 Hours of encountering and praying reconciliation

April: Mercy the Antidote to the World’s Ills lead by our Youth team

Mercy, the antidote to the world’s ills

May: Developing a Spirituality of Mercy talk given by Bishop Robert Barron

Developing a Spirituality of mercy

June: Mercy, the Heart of Ministry lead by parish ministry leaders

Corporal and spiritual acts of mercy in action

July: Mercy and Womanhood presented by Sr. Catherine

Mercy, the womb like embrace of the God of love

August: No Event In the Month Of August
September: Handing on Our Mercy Faith

Teaching our children mercy with mercy

October: Show Mercy to our Common Home (Enviroment) &
Mary, Our Mother of Mercy (Mary)
November: The Saints: Through Mercy to Glory &
From a Year of Mercy to a Community of Mercy

The examples of mercy lived by the Saints gains us glory


The parish wishes you well and the fullness of God’s mercy.
God bless you and your families,

Fr Aidan Peter, CJ      Parish Priest

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To download a PDF version of this information, click here.