Pope Francis: homily with announcement of Year of Mercy.
Francis has declared an Extraordinary Holy Year which will begin on 8 December 2015 and conclude on 20 November 2016, the Feast of Christ the King.
The Holy Door will be opened to mark the occasion.
Francis announced the Holy Year saying: “Dear brothers and sisters, I have often thought about how the Church might make clear its mission of being a witness to mercy. It is journey that begins with a spiritual conversion. For this reason, I have decided to call anextraordinary Jubilee that is to have the mercy of God at its center. It shall be a Holy Year of Mercy. We want to live this Year in the light of the Lord's words: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (cf. Lk 6:36)”
This Holy Year will begin on this coming Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and will end on November 20, 2016, the Sunday dedicated to Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe – and living face of the Father’s mercy. I entrust the organization of this Jubilee to the Pontifical Council for Promotion of the New Evangelization, that [the dicastery] might animate it as a new stage in the journey of the Church on its mission to bring to every person the Gospel of mercy.
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”.
With this announcement, Francis wishes to encourage people to rediscover the sacrament of penance and reconciliation and remember that God never tires of forgiving, we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy. "The bull of indiction will be issued next month, on Divine Mercy Sunday (12 April) - a celebration introduced by John Paul II. This new Holy Year, therefore, does not come under the category of “ordinary” Holy Years celebrated every 25 years (the last of these being the Jubilee of 2000) but under the category of “extraordinary” Holy Years, which the Church proclaims for outstanding events. These include the Jubilee proclaimed by John Paul II in 1983 to mark 1950 years since the Redemption carried out by Christ through his Death and Resurrection in the year 33.
“The way of the Church” - the Pope said - is not to condemn anyone for eternity.” Rather, “It is to pour out the balm of God’s mercy on all those who ask for it with a sincere heart. The way of the church is precisely to leave her four walls behind and to go out in search of those who are distant, those essentially on the ‘outskirts’ of life; to adopt fully God’s own approach; to follow the Master who said: “Those who are well have no need of the physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call, not the righteous but sinners to repentance.”