Pope Francis senses that the world needs mercy. People need to be merciful like God is merciful. To be merciful like God, we must first contemplate the mystery of mercy. We must experience the mercy of God given freely from the abundance of God's love. It is only when we experience this mercy and contemplate its face that we can be merciful, just as God is. Jesus is the face of God's mercy.
Consequently Pope Francis has invited the Church, and all people who share a desire for mercy, to celebrate an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. The year begins on 8 December, 2015, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and concludes on 20 November, 2016, the Feast of Christ the King.
In keeping with the Church's tradition, the beginning of the year is marked by Pope Francis opening the Door of Mercy at St Peter's in Rome. What is different this time is that he has asked that a Door of Mercy be opened in every Catholic diocese on the following Sunday, 13 December. The door stands as a symbol of the invitation to all people to cross the threshold into the Year of Mercy and to take up his call to contemplate the face of mercy − so that we will be merciful, like God is merciful.
Also in keeping with tradition, Pope Francis has written a letter outlining his vision and rationale for the year. What is different this time is that he has addressed the letter, not just to the Catholic Church, but to anyone who reads it. His vision is inclusive, reaching out to all, especially those who feel farthest from God and those with the deepest need for mercy.
You are invited to celebrate the beginning of the Year of Mercy at 4.00pm on Sunday 13 December. Click here for all details or read the media release.
Click here to explore the Year of Mercy website .