Very Rev. Jack Pereira, V.G.
Chair, Jubilee of Mercy Diocesan Committee
Pope Francis told members of the Synod of Bishops on the family that the first task of the Catholic Church is not to hand down condemnations or anathemas, but to proclaim the mercy of God… Furthermore, [T]he Church must be a place of mercy freely given, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel. (Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel, 114).
Declaring the upcoming jubilee, Pope Francis powerfully calls on the Catholic Church to refashion as a place not of judgment but of pardon. Pope Francis never seems to be tired of proclaiming and asking the faithful to experience God’s mercy. Francis has made mercy a central theme of his papacy, speaking of it often in homilies and in his texts. His apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), uses the word 32 times.
In proclaiming an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy he is drawing us into God's unfailing mercy, strengthening, healing and equipping us to fulfill his plan for our life.
God doesn't tire of us, Pope Francis has said, but we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy. Join him in exploring the infinite love and unfailing compassion of the God who is always there first, ready to receive and embrace us.
The Pontifical Council on the New Evangelization, with Pope Francis' backing, has called on all parishes around the world to remain open for confessions and to make this sacrament available most generously. Parishes are strongly recommended to make confessions available before weekday Masses, besides the regularly scheduled confession times.
The jubilee year will formally open on Monday, Dec. 8, 2015 (Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary) with the opening of the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. The other holy doors of basilicas around the world will then be opened as a sign of God's opening a new pathway to salvation.
Our Diocese has finalized some events and activities and as this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy rolls on more events and spiritual gatherings will be announced. Events planned so far:
1. Diocesan Pilgrimage for the Jubilee of Mercy at six designated sites by Bishop Henry:
2. Opening of the Jubilee Door at St. Mary’s Cathedral by Bishop Henry on Sunday, December 13, 2015 (Third Sunday of Advent) at 10 AM Mass.
3. Advent Celebration to mark the opening of the Jubilee of Mercy on Sunday, December 20, 2015 (3 PM to 5 PM) for all the faithful of the Diocese of Calgary. Come to a sung vespers and listen to Bishop Henry`s homily. This special event will take place at the Municipal complex Atrium located at the City Hall, 800 Macleod Trail SE, Calgary.
4. The beginning of this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy is planned to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the closing of the Vatican II Ecumenical Council, an extraordinary event of the last century that we should all continue to celebrate. Parishes are encouraged to create opportunities to study its four constitutions:
Pope Francis summed up beautifully as he wrote: The Church feels a great need to keep this event alive. With the Council, the Church entered a new phase of her history. The Council Fathers strongly perceived, as a true breath of the Holy Spirit, a need to talk about God to men and women of their time in a more accessible way. The walls which too long had made the Church a kind of fortress were torn down and the time had come to proclaim the Gospel in a new way. (Misericordiae Vultus,)
5. Divine Mercy in Song:
6. Catholic Schools will be joining the Diocese with their own plans for the celebration of the Jubilee of Mercy.
7. Each parish is encouraged to seize this wonderful opportunity to draw their own plans to encourage parishioners to experience the mercy of God in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and to be agents of mercy to others, especially through outreach projects of mercy, such as adopting a Refugee family, Feed the Hungry, Inn From The Cold and St. Vincent de Paul.8. The Jubilee of Mercy prayer cards will be distributed to all the parishes and schools.
8. Prayer Cards
The Jubilee of Mercy prayer cards will be distributed to all the parishes and schools.
9. Sponsorship of Refugees Program
During the Jubilee year of Divine Mercy (December 8, 2015 - November 20, 2016) the Diocese of Calgary (SAH), through a partnership with Calgary Catholic Immigration, will provide a grant of $5,000.00 to parishes who sponsor a refugee family through private
10) Applications/Granting of Declarations of Nullity re Marriage Cases
During the Jubilee year of Divine Mercy (December 8, 2015 - November 20, 2016) the Diocese of Calgary will waive the fees normally requested re applications and declarations (donations will be accepted).
In conclusion, I would like to quote Pope Francis once again: I am convinced that the whole Church will find in this Jubilee the joy needed to rediscover and make fruitful the mercy of God, with which all of us are called to give consolation to every man and woman of our time. From this moment, we entrust this Holy Year to the Mother of Mercy, that she might turn her gaze upon us and watch over our journey. (Homily, March 13, 2015).
God doesn't tire of us, Pope Francis has said, but we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy. Join him in exploring the infinite love and unfailing compassion of the God who is always there first, ready to receive and embrace us. Pope Francis wrote: I am convinced that the whole church ... will find in this jubilee the joy to rediscover and render fruitful the mercy of God.
In proclaiming an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis is drawing us into God's unfailing mercy. Be Merciful, just like your Father is merciful.