Very Rev. Jack Pereira, V.G.
The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy began on December 8, 2015 on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, as declared by Pope Francis in the Bull of Indiction, Misericordiae Vultus (the Face of Mercy). It will end at the close of the liturgical year, the Solemnity of Christ the King, November 20, 2016.
December 8, 2015 also marked the 50th 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 desired this Jubilee celebration of mercy to be lived out in the daily lives of the faithful, and all who turn to God for love and mercy.
In view of the Holy Father’s expressed desire, in Bull of Induction, to keep the memory of Vatican II alive, a presentation was given on Why an Ecumenical Session and Why Vatican II? Other sessions followed in parishes throughout our Diocese on the following major documents of the Council:
In Misericordiae Vultus, Pope Francis emphasized the need for the Church and all her members to live out the loving mercy that God has for us. Our response is to act in that same way to all those we meet.
This year-long celebration has been a great grace for each one of us, for the whole Church in need of mercy. It has been a year in which we experienced a deeper, more personal experience of God’s mercy in our own lives, and also bore witness to God’s mercy in our encounters with others.
In announcing the Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis gave voice to the hope that we will all be able “to find in this Jubilee the joy of rediscovering and rendering fruitful God’s mercy, with which we are all called to give comfort to every man and every woman of our time.”
Our Catholic Schools celebrated the Jubilee of Mercy with a variety of mercy projects, including a "holy door" in many schools.
With financial support from the Diocese, many parishes sponsored refugee families from Syria; and one parish is supporting the Fresh Water Project in Burkina Faso, Africa, to name a couple of the many mercy projects undertaken by our parishes.
The eight designated pilgrimage sites were visited by a large number of pilgrims from our parishes. The Holy Doors of Mercy at these sites were an attractive spiritual exercise.
The Diocese will join the rest of the Roman Catholic dioceses in the world with concluding celebrations on Sunday, November 13, before the official closing of the Extraordinary Jubilee to be celebrated in Rome on November 20, 2016.
Many parishes in the Diocese will be celebrating the closing of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy at one of the Sunday Masses on November 13.
While the three pilgrimage sites of Mount St. Francis in Cochrane, the Divine Mercy Centre in Balzac and the Martha Centre in Lethbridge will plan their own celebrations, the Pilgrimage Churches have designated the following times on Sunday, November 13, 2016:
St. Mary’s Cathedral, Calgary
Mass at Noon with Bishop Frederick Henry presiding.
Corpus Christi Church, Calgary
Mass at 11:00 a.m.
Holy Cross Church, Fort Macleod
Mass at 11:00 a.m.
St. George’s Church, Hanna
Mass at 4:00 p.m.
Holy Trinity Church, Siksika, Cluny
Mass at 11:00 a.m.
In thanksgiving, we raise our voices to God for the wonderful opportunity of this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. It is also our prayer that we will continue to be instruments of sharing God’s mercy every day beyond the conclusion of the Year of Mercy.
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.