Pope Announces Jubilee Year of Mercy

st peterIn the midst of the celebration for the second anniversary of his election to the papacy, Pope Francis announced a Jubilee Year of Mercy to commence on December 8, 2015 and end on the Solemnity of Christ the King in 2016.

Vatican Radio is reporting that Francis made the revelation during his sermon at a Lenten penitential service at St. Peter’s Basilica.

“No one can be excluded from the mercy of God,” he said. “I have thought about how the Church can make clear its mission of being a witness of mercy,” and concluded that “it’s a journey that starts with a spiritual conversion. 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.”

When the announcement was made, the congregation burst into applause.

An extraordinary Jubilee Year is a special occurrence in the Church. Dating back to the year 1300, when Pope Boniface VIII decreed that a Jubilee year should be celebrated once a century, since 1475 the faithful have enjoyed a jubilee year every 25 years in order to allow each generation to experience this year of grace. These are considered to be “ordinary” Jubilee years.

Extraordinary Jubilee years, such as the one Francis just announced, are based on some special occasion. The last century saw two extraordinary Holy Years; the first proclaimed by Pius XI in 1933 to celebrate 1900 years of Redemption and the second proclaimed by John Paul II in 1983 to celebrate 1950 years of Redemption.

A papal Bull announcing the Jubilee Year will be made public on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 12, the Feast day instituted by St. John Paul II and celebrated on the Sunday after Easter.

Click here to read more about the meaning of a Jubilee year.

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