During a Lenten service March 13, Pope Francis declared a Holy Year for Mercy.
Catholic News Service reports, “Pope Francis announced an extraordinary Jubilee to start at the end of the year, which will be dedicated to a theme close to the pontiff’s heart: mercy.”
“Dear brothers and sisters, I have thought about how the Church can make clear its mission of being a witness of mercy,” the Pope told attendees at the March 13 penitential liturgy in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Pope Francis said that the journey to mercy is a journey of conversion. That is why he is propagating this Year for Mercy.
“It’s a journey that starts with a spiritual conversion,” said the pope. “For this reason I have decided to declare an Extraordinary Jubilee that has the mercy of God at its center. It will be a Holy Year of Mercy.”
The theme for this Holy Year for Mercy is taken from Luke 6:36, which reads, “Be merciful, just as (also) your Father is merciful.”
Pope Francis said, “I am convinced that the whole Church will be able to find in this Jubilee the joy of rediscovering and making fruitful the mercy of God, with which we are all called to give consolation to every man and every woman of our time.” He also entrusted the Holy Year to Mary, Mother of Mercy.
The Jubilee, or Holy Year, will commence on Dec. 8, 2015 – the feast of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception – and will conclude on Nov. 20, 2016 with the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
The Holy Year will also coincide with the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council in 1965. The Jubilee is to be organized by the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization.
All the readings for Sundays during the Year for Mercy will be taken from the Gospel of Luke. St. Luke is often referred to as “the evangelist of mercy.” Some of his widely known parables of mercy include the parable of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the merciful father.
The Year for Mercy will be officially announced on Divine Mercy Sunday, the Sunday following Easter Sunday. The announcement will include a public proclamation in front of the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.