Year of Mercy
8th December 2015 to 20th November 2016
On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, 8th December 2015 the Jubilee Year of Mercy began – it will close on the Feast of Christ the King, 20th November 2016.
Pope Francis opens the Jubilee Year of Mercy on 8th December 2015.
Following the Mass for the Immaculate Conception, and the solemn inauguration of the Jubilee of Mercy with opening of the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis led the crowds in the recitation of the midday prayer to the Blessed Virgin, the Angelus. Two things are necessary to fully celebrate the day’s feast, the Pope said: first, “to fully welcome God and His merciful grace into our life; second, to become in our own times ‘workers of mercy’ through an evangelical journey.” In imitation of Mary, he said, “we are called to be ‘bearers of Christ’ and witnesses of His love,” especially towards those who are most in need. The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the Pope said, “has a specific message to communicate to us: it reminds us that in our lives, everything is a gift, everything is mercy.” Mary helps us to rediscover “divine mercy as the distinctive mark of the Christian . . . You cannot conceive of a true Christian who is not merciful, just as you cannot conceive of God without His mercy.” Mercy, he said, “is the key-word of the Gospel.” For that reason, “we should not be afraid: we should allow ourselves to be embraced by the mercy of God, who waits for us and forgives everything.”
During the Year of Mercy there will be a Holy Door open at our Cathedral Church of St John the Baptist in Norwich and also at the National Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham.
There will be opportunities during the year to go on pilgrimage to our Cathedral and to Walsingham.
The International Hymn for the Jubilee Year of Mercy ‘Misericordes sicut Pater’ (Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful – Luke 6:36) will be sung a various times at our Sunday Masses during the year.
Further information about the Jubilee Year of Mercy will be available during the year in the newsletter and here on our Parish Website
Prayer of Pope Francis for the Jubilee
Lord Jesus Christ,
you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father,
and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him.
Show us your face and we will be saved.
Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money;
the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things;
made Peter weep after his betrayal,
and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.
Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman:
“If you knew the gift of God!”
You are the visible face of the invisible Father,
of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy:
let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.
You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness
in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error:
let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.
Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing,
so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord,
and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor,
proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed,
and restore sight to the blind.
We ask this of you, Lord Jesus, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of
Mercy; you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.
The logo and the motto together provide a fitting summary of what the Jubilee Year is all about. The motto Merciful Like the Father (taken from the Gospel of Luke, 6:36) serves as an invitation to follow the merciful example of the Father who asks us not to judge or condemn but to forgive and to give love and forgiveness without measure (cfr. Lk 6:37-38). The logo – the work of Jesuit Father Marko I. Rupnik – presents a small summa theologiae of the theme of mercy. In fact, it represents an image quite important to the early Church: that of the Son having taken upon his shoulders the lost soul demonstrating that it is the love of Christ that brings to completion the mystery of his incarnation culminating in redemption. The logo has been designed in such a way so as to express the profound way in which the Good Shepherd touches the flesh of humanity and does so with a love with the power to change one’s life. One particular feature worthy of note is that while the Good Shepherd, in his great mercy, takes humanity upon himself, his eyes are merged with those of man. Christ sees with the eyes of Adam, and Adam with the eyes of Christ. Every person discovers in Christ, the new Adam, one’s own humanity and the future that lies ahead, contemplating, in his gaze, the love of the Father.
The scene is captured within the so called mandorla (the shape of an almond), a figure quite important in early and medieval iconography, for it calls to mind the two natures of Christ, divine and human. The three concentric ovals, with colors progressively lighter as we move outward, suggest the movement of Christ who carries humanity out of the night of sin and death. Conversely, the depth of the darker color suggests the impenetrability of the love of the Father who forgives all.