Pope Francis proclaimed an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, a Holy Year, to be held and observed by the Catholic Church December 8, 2015 through November 20, 2016.
|View our Guide for the Jubilee of Mercy|
It is called an Extraordinary Jubilee because it occurs outside our Church’s “ordinary jubilee” and is called for an event that has a particular importance. This particular Extraordinary Jubilee, the Jubilee of Mercy, coincides with the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council in 1965. The start and end dates of the jubilee also are significant as December 8 is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and November 20 is the Solemnity of Christ the King.
The Jubilee of Mercy is a special time for the Church in which the faithful are to become more merciful in our own lives and bring God’s mercy to others. When we show mercy to others, we are serving as witnesses of the mercy that God constantly extends to all of us. This is why the motto for the Jubilee of Mercy is Merciful like the Father.
At this time, significance should also be placed on the spiritual journey we can make within our hearts and at our own parishes. Mercy can be found in prayer and unity with our brothers and sisters and our parish family of faith.
During the jubilee year, we are to more effectively live mercy, to recognize the many signs of God’s mercy and to give witness to it as a reflection of the Father’s mercy. It is a time of conversion. Through the celebration of the sacraments, in particular the Sacrament of Reconciliation, prayers, practicing or carrying out the Corporal and Spiritual Works of mercy and making a pilgrimage, we are able to change our hearts and our lives so we can live God’s mercy in everything we say and do.
Pope Francis’ Official Intentions
On Divine Mercy Sunday in 2015, Pope Francis officially proclaimed the jubilee through his papal bull of indiction, Misericordiae Vultus (The Face of Mercy). The term “papal bull” refers to an official papal document of special importance and is presented when something major is announced, such as a jubilee, and is a fundamental document detailing the intentions and outcomes hoped for by the Pope.
The Vatican has stated Pope Francis himself is set to make five “jubilee signs” as a witness of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy on designated days throughout the Holy Year. Below is more information how you, as an individual, a family, a ministry and with your congregation can observe and celebrate the Jubilee of Mercy.
Throughout the Church’s history, Jubilee Years have been enriched by three characteristics which attest to the mercy of God, the redemption by Christ, and which foster the faith and devotion of the Christian people. The signs are Holy Doors, Pilgrimage and Jubilee Indulgence. During this Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis has also asked the faithful to practice Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.
Probably the most common characteristic of a Jubilee Holy Year is the opening of the Holy Door at the Cathedral of Rome. It is opened to allow the faithful to receive blessings and temporal pardon for their sins known as an Indulgence. The opening of the door is to symbolically demonstrate the idea that the Church’s faithful are offered an “extraordinary path” toward salvation during the time of jubilee.
When proclaiming this Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis also proclaimed that the opening of the Holy Doors is a sign that the jubilee is not limited to Rome, but extends to local Churches around the world “as a visible sign of the Church’s universal communion.” In his papal bull of indiction, Pope Francis states that every local church, at the cathedral – the mother church of the faithful in any particular area – a Door of Mercy will be opened for the duration of the Holy Year. States Pope Francis “visits to the Holy door are often grace-filled moments, as people discover a path to conversion. Every Particular Church, therefore, will be directly involved in living out this Holy Year as an extraordinary moment of grace and spiritual renewal. Thus the Jubilee will be celebrated both in Rome and in the Particular Churches as a visible sign of the Church’s universal communion” (Misericordiae Vultus text #3)
In the Diocese of Palm Beach, the Holy Door will be at the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola in Palm Beach Gardens. After all, the cathedral is the Mother Church of the faithful in the diocese. Since most Catholics will be unable to make a pilgrimage during this Jubilee Year to visit the designated Holy Doors at the four major basilicas in Rome, local Catholics can make a pilgrimage to our diocesan Cathedral. For more information on making a pilgrimage, including cathedral hours, please view the Pilgrimage section further below.
Symbolic Doors of Mercy
While the door of the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola is the official designated Door of Mercy in the diocese, Bishop Barbarito asked that every parish designate a particular door which is to be associated with the Jubilee of Mercy at the local level. This door will be a reminder of our spiritual union as the Church and a visible sign of the Church's universal communion. Every parish will have a special banner for the Jubilee of Mercy which will be placed at this door.
Bishop Barbarito also asks that another simple designation of a door be made in every home of every individual and family during this Jubilee of Mercy. This door will be a reminder of the Jubilee of Mercy and a simple prayer, such as the Holy Father's Jubilee of Mercy Prayer, be placed upon it and prayed. The door is to serve as a simple reminder that God dwells among us and His mercy never departs from us and reminds us to share this mercy with each other in our homes. As Bishop Barbarito states “May this household door remind us during the Jubilee of Mercy that we must open the most intimate door of our hearts to the love and mercy of God always present within us.”
The Jubilee of Mercy’s indulgence is a Plenary Indulgence which can be applied once a day in suffrage for one’s self or for the souls of the deceased. The Church’s usual conditions for gaining an indulgence apply in connection with this jubilee’s indulgence.
The “usual” conditions for seeking a plenary indulgence are Sacramental Confession, Reception of the Holy Communion and Prayer for the Pope’s intentions. Additionally for the Jubilee Indulgence, there are to be acts of charity, penance and a pilgrimage. The Holy Father has instructed that special indulgences be available for the faithful through the duration of the year. Here’s how to get one.
For able-bodied Catholics:
Go to confession/receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Take a pilgrimage. Make a journey to your local Holy Door or to one of the Holy Doors in the four papal basilicas in Rome. Crossing through a Holy Door is a spiritual journey that signals, as the Holy Father said, “the deep desire for true conversion.” The crossing through a Holy Door should "be linked, first and foremost, to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and to the celebration of the Holy Eucharist with a reflection on mercy.
Receive the Holy Eucharist “with a reflection of mercy.”
Make a profession of faith.
Pray for the pope and for his intentions.
*Note: Once a pilgrim has crossed through the Holy Door of Mercy, in addition to the usual conditiions which require a heart well-disposed for the grace to bring its desired fruits, the fruitful should stop in prayer to fulfill the final actions asked for. At the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola, a guide of instruction, explanation, prayer and meditation for pilgrims is available.
For the elderly, confined and the ill:
Pope Francis said that they may obtain the indulgence by “living with faith and joyful hope this moment of trial.”
Receiving the Eucharist.
Attending Holy Mass and community prayer, even through the various means of communication such as the TV Catholic Mass, will be for them the means of obtaining the jubilee indulgence.
Praying for our faith community. In the Diocese of Palm Beach, Bishop Barbarito asks that the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy be associated in a special way with the vocations of priesthood, religious life and family.
For those in prison:
The incarcerated may obtain the indulgence in their prison chapels.
Pope Francis writes this explanation for those incarcerated and whose freedom is limited: “The Jubilee Year has always constituted an opportunity for great amnesty, which is intended to include the many people who, despite deserving punishment, have become conscious of the injustice they worked and sincerely wish to re-enter society and make their honest contribution to it. May they all be touched in a tangible way by the mercy of the Father who wants to be close to those who have the greatest need of his forgiveness. They may obtain the Indulgence in the chapels of the prisons. May the gesture of directing their thought and prayer to the Father each time they cross the threshold of their cell signify for them their passage through the Holy Door, because the mercy of God is able to transform hearts, and is also able to transform bars into an experience of freedom.”
For the deceased:
Through the prayers of the faithful, indulgences may be obtained for the dead. We remember the deceased for their witness of faith and charity in the Eucharistic celebration and in the great mystery of the Communion of Saints.
For all Catholics:
Perform a spiritual or corporal work of mercy. Pope Francis said that an Indulgence may be obtained when a member of the “faithful personally performs” one of these merciful acts.
What is an Indulgence?
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (No. 1471): “An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints. An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin.” Indulgences may be applied to the living or the dead.
The Jubilee Indulgence is a Plenary Indulgence. The Plenary Indulgence can be applied once a day in suffrage for one’s self or for the souls of the deceased. The Church’s usual conditions for gaining an indulgence apply in connection with the Jubilee Indulgence.
A pilgrimage to a Holy Door within your diocese or to one of the Holy Doors in the four papal basilicas in Rome is one such way to seek mercy and Indulgences during a Jubilee Holy Year. The Holy Door for our diocese is at the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola. Bishop Barbarito has asked all parishes to have Holy Doors at their parishes but these doors are o