Back in March, Pope Francis celebrated his second anniversary as our pope. He celebrated this milestone at a penitential service in St. Peter’s Basilica. At the service he announced that he was calling for an extraordinary Jubilee Year for the Church. It is a year that will begin December 8, 2015 and end on November 20, 2016. During this year Catholics are called to be more mindful and dutiful in being forgiving and merciful. It really speaks volumes about the heart of our dear Pope Francis. His motto as bishop is “Miserando atque eligendo” (He looked at him with mercy and He chose him). The pope reminded everyone at the service that “no one can be excluded from the mercy of God.” He said, “I have thought about how the Church can make clear its mission of being a witness of mercy. 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.”
This Jubilee will honor the 50th anniversary of the closure of the 1962-1965 Vatican II council. What a wonderful way to celebrate both the great Council and heart of what our Easter season is all about, mercy. Our Pope is calling us to talk about God “in a more accessible way” and avoid “fortress” mentalities because the credibility of our message depends on more mercy and less severity. He has called on cathedrals worldwide to designate a special “door of mercy” which will stay open during the Holy Year so that they will become an “oasis of mercy.”
I think it will be a beautiful gesture for us here at Notre Dame de la Mer Parish to designate one of the doors at each of our beautiful worship sites as a door of mercy in December, so that we too are reminded that we are called and challenged to be an “oasis of mercy” to all who enter. I’ll give you more details as we get closer to the opening of our doors of mercy.