Pope Francis has called an extraordinary Jubilee, a Holy Year of Mercy to begin on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 2015. It will end by the beginning of Advent 2016.
What is a jubilee year? A jubilee year is a special year called by the church to receive blessing and pardon from God and remission of sins. The Catholic Church has called jubilee years every 25 to 50 years since the year 1300 and has also called special jubilee years, known as extraordinary jubilee years.
As explained in the Church document Misericordiae Vultus that announced this Year of Mercy, Pope Francis is focusing on mercy because “We constantly need to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends upon it” (2). He reminds us that “Jesus affirms that mercy is not on an action of the Father. It becomes a criterion for ascertaining who his true children are. In short, we are called to show mercy because mercy has first been shown to us” (9). And he challenges us: “Mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life. All of her pastoral activity should be caught up in the tenderness she makes present to believers…The Church has an endless desire to show mercy” (10).
In response to this call, the Archdiocese has announced a series of activities. They include:
- CATHOLIC CONNECTION – Beginning in Advent, the Archdiocese will organize an effort to reach out to inactive Catholics. Parishes are being asked to solicit names of inactive Catholics by distributing postcards at weekend Masses and/or directing folks to an online registry. The people identified will receive a letter from Archbishop Kurtz inviting them to consider reconnecting to the faith community. They will also be invited to listening sessions to be held in February across the Archdiocese. During a similar effort in 2001, more than 5,000 names were submitted, and several hundred people attend similar listening sessions.
- 24 HOURS FOR THE LORD – The Holy See has asked that churches observe a special 24-hour period of Eucharistic Adoration, with the availability of Reconciliation sometime during that time. The dates that have been established are March 4-5, 2016 (Friday-Saturday), from 4 p.m. on Friday through 4 p.m. on Saturday. The list of parishes participating in 24 Hours for the Lord can be found at the link above.
- HOLY DOORS – During Jubilee Years, Holy Doors are used as a symbol and ritual expression of conversion in and through Jesus Christ. Individuals are invited to pass through the door in order to leave the past behind and cross the threshold from sin to grace and darkness to light. The Cathedral of the Assumption and the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral will participate in the worldwide ritual of having a Holy Door for the Year of Mercy. In addition other parishes may decide to participate.
- ADULT FORMATION – Many parishes have active Renew groups or other small Christian communities and have been encouraged to invite groups to study and discuss mercy this year.
- CORPORAL AND SPIRITUAL WORKS OF MERCY – Parishes, schools, and the faithful in general will be invited to practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy throughout the year. Processes are being developed to educate and encourage these practices and to record and report on what transpires throughout the Archdiocese.
- LIFE CONFERENCE (OCTOBER 22, 2016) – The Archdiocese is sponsoring a diocesan-wide conference, which will highlight the Church’s teaching on the dignity of life as the foundation for the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Presentations will be provided on a variety of life issues focusing on the many ways Catholics respect the sanctity of life.
- PSALMS OF MERCY – Everyone is invited to Psalms Reborn, a free concert of exciting and original music inspired by the Book of Psalms. The event is presented by the Archdiocese of Louisville in celebration of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.
Individual parishes also will hold special programs and activities. Further information about parish offerings and all of the activities listed above will be added to this page as it becomes available.