Preliminary planning for the “Jubilee of Mercy,” an extraordinary year of mercy
[n.b. The following is from my notes taken at the meeting. None of this is “official” in the true sense of the word. As such, what I offer is subject to change or correction.]
Yesterdays’s meeting with staff of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization (PCPNE), ended with a presentation on the preliminary planning for the announced Year of Mercy which will begin this December and extend through next year. The PCPNE is the office responsible for the planning and they were able to share a lot of information and answer our questions. A number of take-aways:
– The official title of the year is “Jubilee of Mercy.”
– This is the first time in history that the Holy Father has asked each Diocese to have a “holy door.” He has done so because he wants the Jubilee of Mercy to be a local event rather than a Roman event. While there will be a “holy door” in St. Peter’s and people are welcome to make a pilgrimage there, the desire is that the focus be more on pilgrimages within the Diocese.
– As such, it is preferable that each Diocese have only one “holy door,” normally at the Cathedral. However, if there is a significant Shrine in the Diocese or distance within the Diocese would make it difficult for some to make pilgrimage, another holy door may be designated as well.
– In the papal bull announcing the Jubilee of Mercy, “Misericordiae Vultus” Pope Francis focused on all 14 works of mercy, both the spiritual and the corporal works. His desire is that the celebrations of the Jubilee of Mercy do so as well.
– During the Jubilee of Mercy, the Holy Father will perform particular works of mercy and is asking each Diocese to do so as well.
– “Jubilees” are days when a Diocese would have a pilgrimage to the holy door for particular groups. The PCPNE at the Holy Father’s direction has scheduled at least one Jubilee each month of the year. For example, there will be a “Jubilee for young boys and girls (age 13-16)” in Rome on April 24, 2015. The expectation is that there will be a similar Jubilee in each Diocese as well.
– The form of these “Jubilees” is up to each Diocese. It could include Mass or Liturgy of the Hours or a penance service, etc.
– Initial plans are for each Diocese to ask priests known for the holiness, zeal, and pastoral sensitivity to serve as designated “Missionaries of Mercy” who will have special faculties of absolution for the forgiveness of sins within the Sacrament of Confession and Reconciliation.
– March 4-5 will be the dates for “24 Hours for the Lord” focusing on the celebration and mercy of the Sacrament of Confession and Reconciliation. This will take place in Rome. Each Diocese is asked to consider a simultaneous celebration of the “Hours” as well.
– 8 “Pastoral Aids” on the different themes of mercy will be published in preparation for the Jubilee of Mercy and distributed to Dioceses.