“I believe this is a time of mercy. The Church is showing her maternal side, her motherly face, to a humanity that is wounded. She does not wait for the wounded to knock on her doors, she looks for them on the streets, she gathers them in, she embraces them, she takes care of them, she makes them feel loved. And I am ever more convinced of it, this is a kairos, our era is a kairos of mercy, a time of opportunity.”
- From The Name of God is Mercy: Pope Francis in conversation with Andrea Tornielli.
The Holy Father’s message for Lent is a profound reflection of the works of mercy in this Jubilee Year and may be read here.
His Ash Wednesday homily is reported by Vatican Radio here:
Pope Francis’ prayer intentions for February may be viewed here:
Pope Francis has asked us in this Holy Year of Mercy to practice the virtue of mercy. Catholic Tradition speaks of seven corporal and seven spiritual works of mercy.
The corporal works of mercy include feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, burying the dead, visiting those in prison, and above all, giving alms to those living in poverty.
The spiritual works of mercy comprise giving instruction to those unsure, advising the doubtful, comforting the sorrowful, guiding the sinful, praying for those in any need, bearing wrongs patiently, forgiving those who hurt us.
To these we might add: the support of human life from conception to natural death and caring for animals and all creation.
During the Holy Year of Mercy two diocesan shrine churches will be established: the Cathedral Church of St. John the Baptist in Norwich and the Slipper Chapel at the National Shrine at Walsingham. Parishes, schools, groups and individuals may book and go on pilgrimage to either or both shrine churches. In them pilgrims can walk through a ‘Holy Door’ and thus, by the specified prayers, and the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist obtain the Jubilee plenary indulgence. The custom of crossing the threshold of a Holy Door is rich in meaning as a renewal of baptism. Jesus himself is the door, the way to heaven, the means to communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit. To pass through the Holy Door is to profess our faith in Him, to cross from this world to the next and to leave behind the old way of life, restored to the holiness of our baptism.
Earlier this year, Pope Francis announced an extraordinary Holy Year, a Jubilee of Mercy, beginning on 8th December, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and ending on the Solemnity of Christ the King, 20th November 2016. The aim of the Holy Year is to proclaim and receive the loving-mercy of God, Who is dives in misericordia ‘rich in mercy’. God has created every single person and God longs to enter into a transforming relationship with us as our loving Father. In the fullness of time, God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, who by his life, death and resurrection conquered sin and evil, sickness, suffering and death. Jesus continues to offer this Good News of salvation to anyone in need, to those struggling with poverty, to captives and to the downtrodden.