The Extraordinary Year of Mercy
The Jubilee of Mercy that Pope Francis has called, from December 8, 2015 – November 20, 2016, is an Extraordinary Jubilee. This designation as an “Extraordinary Jubilee” sets it apart from the ordinary cycle of jubilees, or holy years, which are called every 25 years in the Catholic Church. By calling for a holy year outside of the normal cycle, a particular event or theme is emphasized. For example, Pope Francis called this particular Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy to direct our attention and actions “on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s actions in our lives . . . a time when the witness of believers might grow stronger and more effective”
Why a Jubilee of Mercy now?
Pope Francis himself addressed this question in his homily . . . for First Vespers for Divine Mercy Sunday.
“Here, then, is the reason for the Jubilee: because this is the time for mercy. It is the favorable time to heal wounds, a time not to be weary of meeting all those who are waiting to see and to touch with their hands the signs of the closeness of God, a time to offer everyone, everyone, the way of forgiveness and reconciliation. May the Mother of God open our eyes, so that we may comprehend the task to which we have been called; and may she obtain for us the grace to experience this Jubilee of Mercy as faithful and fruitful witnesses of Christ.”
The Jubilee year began with the opening of the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica, with the Holy Door of the Basilica of St. John Lateran opening the following Sunday. Doors of Mercy were also opened around the world at local cathedrals and significant shrines.
St. John’s Holy Door!
Through November 20, 2016, the end of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, St. John’s will welcome pilgrim visitors to our Holy Door, “A Door Ever Open to all who Knock and Desire to Meet Jesus”. Please contact the parish office, 301-662-8288, if you would like to visit or schedule a group tour.
During this Jubilee Year, St. John’s will host Walk In Wednesdays. Every Wednesday, from 12:00-2:00 PM, a member (or two if necessary) of our pastoral staff will be present in Church to talk to anyone in need of a listening ear. Perhaps you’re in need of prayer or wish to pray. Feel free to come by. In this age of New Evangelization we strive to be Evangelists, especially to those who feel estranged or abandoned by the Church. We also have a solemn duty to “Make Disciples” of all ages, strengthening those who already call St. John home. We hope this will be a time to connect, in a less formal or intimating way, with anyone who has need of our assistance.
In addition, throughout the Year of Mercy and especially on Walk-In Wednesdays, , we will have prayer intention cards inscribed with the following invitation: Prayer: God’s Doorway to Mercy. You will be invited to write down prayer intentions each weekend and leave them in the collection boxes at each of the doors of the Church. They will be collected on Monday morning and recorded for the parish staff. The staff member assigned to Walk in Wednesday will be praying those prayer intentions if they are not speaking with someone during the allotted time. In addition, the remainder of the parish staff will be praying these intentions throughout our regular work day each Wednesday. Finally, the intentions will be placed at the altar as parishioners celebrate Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament to be prayed in silence as part of these Holy Hours. Please provide us with your prayer intentions each week so we might remember them as part of this Extraordinary Jubilee Year.
additional resources for the year of mercy
Prayer of Pope Francis for the Jubilee
- God’s Healing Mercy by Kathleen Beckman
- The Gaze of Mercy: A Commentary on Divine and Human Mercy by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa
- The Second Greatest Story Ever Told: Now is the Time of Mercy by Michael Gaitley
Pope Francis’ Letter Explaining the Jubilee of Mercy
Official Vatican Website for the Jubilee of Mercy
Archdiocese of Baltimore website for the Jubilee of Mercy