Official opening of the Extraordinary Jubilee of MercyTuesday, December 08 2015
Today, on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 2015, Pope Francis presided at the opening celebration of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy in Saint Peter’s Basilica. A delegation from Canada was present for the occasion as the Presidency of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) is currently making its annual visit to the Holy See. The delegation comprises the Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and CCCB President, the Most Reverend Lionel Gendron, P.S.S., Bishop of Saint-Jean-Longueuil and CCCB Vice President, and Msgr. Frank Leo, Jr., C.S.S., CCCB General Secretary. They will be joined by the Most Reverend Nicola De Angelis, C.F.I.C., Bishop Emeritus of Peterborough, for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist at which the Holy Father will preside in the Basilica on December 12, when Pope Francis will entrust the American continent to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas.
In Canada, dioceses and eparchies over the coming dayswill also mark the launch of the Jubilee with various diocesan and eparchial celebrations, including the opening of diocesan Doors of Mercy. The Holy Door at the Cathedral Basilica Notre-Dame de Québec will also be open for the Year of Mercy. A news conference will take place on December 8 at 1:30 pm with His Eminence Gérald Cyprien Cardinal Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec and Primate of the Church in Canada. The news conference will be broadcast live on the Web television channel of the Archdiocese of Québec, ECDQ.TV. Several Canadian Bishops have also issued Pastoral Letters to mark the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. Aspecial Webpage will shortly be accessible on the CCCB Website, carrying messages from Bishops around the country, as well as news about diocesan, eparchial and other activities that will take place during the Jubilee Year. The 2015 Christmas message by Bishop Crosby, President of the CCCB, refers throughout to the theme of mercy.
The Bull of Indiction (Misericordiae Vultus, or “The Face of Mercy”) formally announcing the Holy Year was released in Rome by Pope Francis on April 11, 2015. The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy will conclude on November 20, 2016, with the Solemnity of Christ the King. At the beginning of his Bull of Indiction, the Holy Father writes: “Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy. These words might well sum up the mystery of the Christian faith. Mercy has become living and visible in Jesus of Nazareth, reaching its culmination in him…. We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it. Mercy: the word reveals the very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity…. At times we are called to gaze even more attentively on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives. For this reason I have proclaimed an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy as a special time for the Church; a time when the witness of believers might grow stronger and more effective” (nn. 1,2,3).
As agreed at the 2015 Plenary Assembly, the CCCB is publishing the Gospel of Luke in a popular pocket book format, using the official French-language liturgical translation, and which will be distributed in more than 10 French Sector dioceses across the country. A number of dioceses in the English Sector will make available a popular English-language version of the Gospel of Luke, using the Good News Translation published by the Canadian Bible Society. The Gospel of Luke speaks extensively of God’s mercy; for example, in the parables of the shepherd who goes after the lost sheep, the prodigal son, the rich man and Lazarus, and the good Samaritan.