For Catholics all around the world, 2016 is going to be especially intense, after the Holy Father’s announcement on 13 March of an Extraordinary Holy Year, to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the closure of the Second Vatican Council, a great Jubilee of Mercy, a theme dear to the heart of Pope Francis. He hopes for“spiritual renewal of the whole Church”. Preparation for this event has been entrusted to the Pontifical Council for the new evangelization.
The Holy Year was officially announced in the publication of the Papal Bull of Indiction Misericordiae vultus on 11 April 2015, the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday. In this document, Pope Francis explains the reason for this “Holy Year” and its highlights, planned for Rome but also for all dioceses, who will be visited by “mercy missionaries”. He invites Christians to contemplate and live this mystery of mercy, “a source of joy, serenity and peace.”
On 29 November 2015, during his African tour, Pope Francis marked the first high spot of this year by opening the first of the Holy Doors at the Cathedral of Bangui, a few days before the Jubilee year begins, thus making this Central African capital, a city ravaged by war, and one of the poorest on the planet, the “spiritual capital of the world”.
The Holy Year and Jubilee begins officially on 8 December, Feast of the Immaculate Conception, when the Holy Door of Saint Peter’s Basilica is opened. This door will be closed again on 20 November 2016, solemnity of Christ, King of the Universe, marking the end of the jubilee year. Between these two dates, a whole series of events is planned in Rome and in the dioceses.
THE SSVP INVITED TO JOIN THE JUBILEE
In a letter addressed to the International President General, the Pontifical Council Cor unum has called on the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul to promote a day of spiritual retreat on the theme of “Caritas Christi urget nos” (The Charity of Christ Crucified urges us), for all those who contribute to the Church’s charitable action, as professionals or as volunteers. Mgr. Giampietro Dal Toso – Secretary, states in the letter: “Faithful to the wishes of the Holy Father, it will be an encouragement to us to apply especially to our daily lives this dimension of compassion, by exploring more deeply the roots of our charitable action”.
This day will be held during Lent 2016, and each entity (whether local, regional or national) of the Confederation is free to choose a date that suits them. Cor Unum will provide topics for reflection on its website after Christmas, with tools for organising this event.
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