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Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy

The Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, announced by Pope Francis on March 13, 2014, was solemnly inaugurated on December 8, 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. This Jubilee Year of Mercy will conclude on November 20, 2016, the Solemnity of Christ the King. The main focus and aim of this Jubilee Year is to live out in our daily lives the mercy which the Heavenly Father constantly extends to all of us, and to introduce everyone to the great mystery of God’s Mercy (Misericordiae Vultus  25).

The motto of the Holy Year of Mercy, “Merciful like the Father,” (Luke 6:36) serves as an invitation to follow the example of the compassionate Father who asks us not to judge or condemn but to forgive and give love and forgiveness without measure. We are reminded to live this Jubilee Year in the light of the Lord’s words: “Be merciful just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36). The Holy Year of Mercy is a call to the Church to refashion herself as a body not for judgment or condemnation but for pardon and merciful love.

The Holy Father has suggested numerous ways of experiencing and practicing mercy in his declaration of the Jubilee Year, Misericordiae Vultus (MV), of 11 April 2015.

  1. Spiritual Works of Mercy: “And let us not forget the spiritual works of Mercy: i) to counsel the doubtful, ii) instruct the ignorant, iii) admonish sinners, iv) comfort the afflicted, v) forgive offences, vi) bear patiently those who do us ill and vii) pray for the living and the dead” (MV 15). We are recommended to become Missionary Disciples who can exercise the above spiritual works and motivate others to do the same.
  2. Corporal Works of Mercy: “Jesus introduces us to these works of mercy in his preaching so that we can know whether or not we are living as his disciples. Let us rediscover these corporal works of mercy: i) to feed the hungry, ii) give drink to the thirsty, iii) clothe the naked, iv) welcome the stranger, v) heal the sick, vi) visit the imprisoned and vii) bury the dead.”(MV15). “May we reach out to them (wounded and hurt) and support them so that they can feel the warmth of our presence, our friendship and our fraternity” (MV 15). If each one of us can do one small act of mercy daily and motivate others to do the same it will bring about a mercy revolution in our midst.
  3. Lent 2016: “The season of Lent during this Jubilee Year should also be lived more intensely as a privileged moment to celebrate and experience God’s mercy” (MV 16). Lent 2016 should be considered with new fervour and more reading and meditation of the Sacred Scriptures should be promoted.
  4. Regular Confessions: “Let us place the Sacrament of Reconciliation at the center once more in such a way that it will enable people to touch the grandeur of God’s mercy with their own hand”(MV 17).
  5. Forgiveness: “Pardoning offenses becomes the clearest expression of merciful love, and for us Christians it is an imperative from which we cannot excuse ourselves” (Mathew 18:22-35; MV 9)
  6. Meditation on the Word of God: “How many pages of Sacred Scripture are appropriate for meditation during the weeks of Lent to help us rediscover the merciful face of the Father!” (MV 17).
  7. Indulgences: A Jubilee also entails the granting of indulgences. This practice will acquire an even more important meaning in the Holy Year of Mercy (MV 22).
  8. 24 Hours for the Lord: “The initiative of 24 Hours for the Lord to be celebrated on the Friday and Saturday preceding the Fourth week of Lent” (March 5 and 6, 2016).
  9. Divine Mercy Devotion: During this year of Divine Mercy we can concentrate and promote the devotion to Divine Mercy through the recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet and litany. Moreover we can celebrate the Divine Mercy Sunday, which follows the Sunday after Easter, April 17, 2016, with greater solemnity.  

Pope Francis on Jubilee Indulgence

In his Letter dated September 1, 2015 Pope Francis wrote: “To experience and obtain the Indulgence, the faithful are called to make a brief pilgrimage to the Holy Door, open in every Cathedral or in the churches designated by the Diocesan Bishop, and in the four Papal Basilicas in Rome, as a sign of the deep desire for true conversion. Likewise, I dispose that the Indulgence may be obtained in the Shrines in which the Door of Mercy is open and in the churches which traditionally are identified as Jubilee Churches. It is important that this moment be linked, first and foremost, to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and to the celebration of the Holy Eucharist with a reflection on mercy. It will be necessary to accompany these celebrations with the profession of faith and with prayer for me and for the intentions that I bear in my heart for the good of the Church and of the entire world.

“Additionally, I am thinking of those for whom, for various reasons, it will be impossible to enter the Holy Door, particularly the sick and people who are elderly and alone, often confined to the home. For them it will be of great help to live their sickness and suffering as an experience of closeness to the Lord who in the mystery of his Passion, death and Resurrection indicates the royal road which gives meaning to pain and loneliness. Living with faith and joyful hope this moment of trial, receiving communion or attending Holy Mass and community prayer, even through the various means of communication, will be for them the means of obtaining the Jubilee Indulgence.”

Plenary Indulgences

“An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints” Code of Canon Law 992; Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1471).

Plenary Indulgence remits all the temporal punishment for sin. That means, if we die in a state of grace immediately after having obtained a Plenary Indulgence we will go straight to heaven. A Partial Indulgence does not remit all the punishment for sin.

In general, the gaining of indulgences requires certain conditions. To gain indulgences, whether plenary or partial, it is necessary that the faithful be in the state of grace at least at the time the indulgenced work is completed.

plenary indulgence can be gained only once a day. In order to obtain it, the faithful must, in addition to being in the state of grace:

— have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin;
— have sacramentally confessed 
their sins;

— receive the Holy Eucharist (it is certainly better to receive it while participating in Holy Mass, but for the indulgence only Holy Communion is required);
— pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.

It is appropriate, but not necessary, that the sacramental Confession and especially Holy Communion and the prayer for the Pope’s intentions take place on the same day that the indulgenced work is performed; but it is sufficient that these sacred rites and prayers be carried out within several days (about 20) before or after the indulgenced act. Prayer for the Pope’s intentions is left to the choice of the faithful, but an “Our Father” and a “Hail Mary” are suggested. One sacramental Confession suffices for several plenary indulgences, but a separate Holy Communion and a separate prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions are required for each plenary indulgence.

Indulgences can always be applied either to oneself or to the souls of the deceased, but they cannot be applied to other persons living on earth.

Jubilee Churches in the Diocese of St. Augustine

Having fulfilled the necessary conditions, the faithful may gain Plenary Indulgence by making a pious visit/pilgrimage to a Jubilee Church. In addition to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, the following churches have been declared by Bishop Felipe J. Estevez as Jubilee Churches in the diocese:

  • The Shrine of our Lady of La Leche at Mission Nombre de Dios, St. Augustine
  • Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Jacksonville
  • Augustine Catholic Church and Student Center, Gainesville
  • Mary Mother of Mercy Church, Macclenny
  • The Chapel of St. Joseph Carmelite Monastery, Bunnel
  • Santa Fe Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche, High Springs

 

 

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