Year of Mercy
Pope Francis announced the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy; a Holy Year from December 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016.
What is a Jubilee? What is a Holy Year?
A jubilee marks the anniversary of a joyous event, religious or profane. In Catholic tradition, a jubilee is also called a Holy Year. The most recent jubilee was in 2000.
A Holy Year is a year of solidarity, hope, justice, and commitment to the service of God and our human brothers and sisters. It is also a year of remission, indulgence, and reconciliation, of conversion and sacramental penance.
What is Mercy?
The Latin word misericordia literally means: having one's heart (cor) with the poor (miseri); having a heart that beats for all forms of poverty.
Mercy is not a sign of weakness, affirmed the pope in his bull Misericordiae vultus. It is quite the opposite. The pope referred to the Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas, according to which "It is proper to God to exercise mercy, and he manifests his omnipotence particularly in this way."
Mercy becomes manifest through the works of mercy: feeding the hungry, providing drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, welcoming foreigners, pilgrims, and those in need, visiting the sick, proclaiming the Good News to prisoners and captives, burying the dead...
The Door of Mercy
The Door of Mercy is a special door that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, requested be opened in every diocese on the occasion of this extraordinary Holy Year, allowing the faithful worldwide to fully experience the Father's Mercy.
Throughout the year, until November 20, 2016, Catholics are invited to cross the thresholds of the Doors of Mercy, as a means of receiving penance and getting closer to Christ. According to the pope, the Holy Year serves as the path to "spiritual conversion."