What is the Jubilee of Mercy?
In the Bull of Indiction, Misericordiae vultus. . . Pope Francis declared that the Jubilee of Mercy will begin on December 8, 2015 (the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary) and conclude on November 20, 2016 (the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe). December 8, 2015 also marks the fiftieth anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council, a Council that sought to bring the love of God to the modern world. Similarly, the Holy Father strongly desires this Jubilee celebration of mercy to be lived out in the daily lives of the faithful, and all who turn to God for compassionate love and mercy.
What are the Holy Doors?
One of the central components of the Jubilee of Mercy is that the Holy Doors throughout the world will be opened during this Jubilee year. When they are opened at the beginning of the year, “the Holy Door will become a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instills hope”. Since each diocese will have the opportunity to open a Door of Mercy in their diocese, all members of the faithful will have opportunity to make a pilgrimage to their local Holy Door during the Jubilee. This pilgrimage is to be a journey of walking closer with God and discovering “moment[s] of grace and spiritual renewal”. These doors are symbols of God’s mercy, open to welcome everyone into the compassion of God’s love that Christ proclaimed.
What is a Jubilee Indulgence?
An indulgence is an act of faith by which a person may obtain release from the temporal punishment associated with sins committed, either for oneself or on behalf of another during December 8, 2015 – November 20, 2016. Here’s how to obtain the grace of the indulgence.
For able-bodied Catholics:
- Take a pilgrimage to one of the five diocesan pilgrimage churches that have been designated for the Jubilee Year.
- Go to confession.
- Receive the Holy Eucharist
- Make a profession of faith
- Pray for the Pope and for his intentions
- Perform one of the Spiritual or Corporal Works of Mercy.
It is appropriate that the sacramental confession and especially Holy Communion and the prayer for the pope’s intentions take place on the same day of the pilgrimage, but it is not necessary. The sacramental rites and prayers may be carried out within several days (about three weeks) and at a place other than the pilgrimage site.
For the elderly, confined and the ill:
Pope Francis has said that they may obtain the indulgence by “living with faith and joyful hope this moment of trial.” Receiving Communion or attending Holy Mass and community prayer, even through the various available means of communication, will be for them the means of obtaining the Jubilee Indulgence.”.
The Seven Corporal Works of Mercy
- Feed the hungry.
- Give drink to the thirsty.
- Clothe the naked.
- Shelter the homeless.
- Visit the sick.
- Visit the imprisoned.
- Bury the dead
The Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy
- Counsel the doubtful.
- Instruct the ignorant.
- Admonish sinners.
- Comfort the afflicted.
- Forgive offenses.
- Bear wrongs patiently.
- Pray for the living & the dead.