This year actually began on the great Marian Solemnity of her Immaculate Conception on this past December 8th- Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, Mother of God; and will continue until November 20th – the Solemnity of Christ the King. The main question most asked is: What is this Year of Mercy all about?
An excellent question! For the answser, I’m going to enlist my church’s bulletin insert as well as info from the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception in Massachusettes who, btw, have the only official Divine Mercy Shrine in the country… at least that I know of… to provide us with a complete answser.
On that note, let’s begin to review what this Year of Mercy is all about. The following comes from the website of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculation Conception: Article by Ellise Harris. View the complete article HERE:
Rome, Italy, Mar 13, 2015 / 10:05 am (CNA/EWTN News).- During his homily for a Lenten penitential service, Pope Francis announced an extraordinary Jubilee to start at the end of the year, which will be dedicated to a theme close to the pontiff’s heart: mercy.
“Dear brothers and sisters, I have thought about how the Church can make clear its mission of being a witness of mercy,” the Pope told attendees of his March 13 penitential liturgy in St. Peter’s Basilica.
“It’s a journey that starts with a spiritual conversion. For this reason I have decided to declare an Extraordinary Jubilee that has the mercy of God at its center. It will be a Holy Year of Mercy.”
The biblical passage for the Holy Year’s theme is from Luke Chapter 6 verse 36, in which Jesus tells his disciples, “Be merciful as your Father is merciful.”
“I am convinced that the whole Church will be able to find in this Jubilee the joy of rediscovering and making fruitful the mercy of God, with which we are all called to give consolation to every man and every woman of our time,” Francis said, and entrusted the Holy Year to Mary, Mother of Mercy.
Okay, it’s all about Mercy and the practice of Mercy – the Mercy of God, that is. But now, why make it a Jubilee Year? What’s that all about?
According to the Holy See, the origin of the Christian Jubilee goes back to Old Testament times. The Law of Moses prescribed a special year for the Jewish people (Lev 25:10-14). The trumpet with which this particular year was announced was a goat’s horn, called Yobel in Hebrew, and the origin of the word “jubilee.”
The celebration of this year also included the restitution of land to the original owners, the remission of debts, the liberation of slaves, and “rest” for the land, which was left fallow. In the New Testament, Jesus presents Himself as the One who brings the old Jubilee to completion, because He has come to “preach the year of the Lord’s favor” (Lk 4:18-19; see also Is 61:1-2).
The Holy See says that, in the Roman Catholic tradition, a Holy Year or Jubilee is a great religious event, held roughly every 25 years, for the forgiveness of sins and the punishment due to sin. The Christian Jubilee tradition began with Pope Boniface VIII in 1300.
Since that time, the Church has celebrated 26 ordinary and three extraordinary Jubilee Years. A Jubilee is a year of reconciliation between adversaries, conversion, and a time to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Consequently, it is a time of solidarity, hope, justice, and commitment to serve God with joy and in peace with our brothers and sisters. A Jubilee Year is, above all, the year of Christ, who brings life and grace to humanity (“What is a Holy Year?” www.vatican.va). MIC website
Which means there is a Plenanary Indulgence attached… A what did you say?
A Plenanary Indulgence is:
Like all previous Jubilees, the Jubilee Year of Mercy features a very special plenary indulgence (the complete remission of all temporal punishment due to sin).
“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.”
– Pope Francis, Letter to Archbishop Rino Fisichella, Sept. 1, 2015.
There have been many Jubilee Years – 26 ordinary Jubilees and three extraordinary – and each has featured a special plenary indulgence.
This time around, Pope Francis is seeking to make the indulgence as widely available as possible. In the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, a Holy Door is to be opened in every cathedral around the world, as well as in particular shrines, such as the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where large numbers of pilgrims come to honor the mercy of God.
Even though we can only obtain one plenary indulgence a day, if you perform the required actions for other plenary indulgences on the same day, you can still obtain multiple partial indulgences.
To receive the Jubilee Year indulgence, you must fulfill the usual conditions, (specified below) and perform the indulgenced act: passing through a designated Holy Door during the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy (between Dec. 8, 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and Nov. 20, 2016, the Solemnity of Christ the King) or performing one of the corporal or spiritual works of mercy.
Here are the conditions for receiving a Jubilee Year of Mercy plenary indulgence:
*Perform the indulgenced act – in other words, pass through a designated Holy Door during the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy OR perform one of the corporal or spiritual works of mercy. (see below for a list of these)
–It is necessary that the faithful be in the state of grace, at least at the time the indulgenced work is completed.
*A plenary indulgence can be gained only once a day. In order to obtain the indulgence, the faithful must: (1) make a good sacramental confession and have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin;(2) receive the Holy Eucharist (it is certainly better to receive it while participating in Holy Mass); (3) pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff (The choice of these prayers are left to the choice of the faithful, but an Our Father and a Hail Mary are suggested.)
*You may receive the plenary indulgence yourself, or offer it for a person in purgatory. It is appropriate, but not necessary, that the sacramental confession, and especially Holy Communion and the prayer for the Pope’s intentions take place on the same day that the indulgenced work is performed; but it is sufficient that these sacred rites and prayers be carried out within several days (about 20) before or after the indulgenced act.
*One sacramental Confession suffices for several plenary indulgences, but a separate Holy Communion and a separate prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions are required for each plenary indulgence.(Catch that? Pray for the Holy Father and his intentions. I do this as I’m walking into Mass through my church’s Door of Mercy – we have the privilage of being one of several in the diocese I’m at. 🙂 Then at Mass I receive Jesus in the Eucharist, Voila!)
*Indulgences can always be applied either to oneself or to the souls of the deceased, but they cannot be applied to other persons living on earth. (So no walking through for your alive uncle or wayward brother/sister. They’ve got to do this for themselves. But if they are deceased and possibly on their way to heaven, this will help them out tremendously!)
Adapted from the decree on the plenary indulgence for the 2000 Jubilee Year. Emphasis added by Me. Click to print/save this INFORMATION for yourself.
Now on to the lists of what constitutes a Works of Mercy…pretty simple, yes?
You can find this same information on the bottom of the page I linked up above.
Okay, now, the final ingredient that all should have so I’ve made a pdf that you can print out if ya want to make several and hand them out to friends and family. This is the official prayer for this Year of Mercy as found in both my church’s bulletin. Mind you, it’s not as artsy as Bookmark below, but that’s okay!