On April 11, 2015, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, issued a bull of indiction, designating Dec. 8, 2015 – Nov. 20, 2016 as a Jubilee Year, a “Holy Year of Mercy” throughout the Catholic Church. In his announcement, Pope Francis wrote that “in every local church, at the cathedral – the mother church of the faithful in any particular area – or, alternatively, at the co-cathedral or another church of special significance, a Door of Mercy will be opened for the duration of the Holy Year. At the discretion of the local ordinary, a similar door may be opened at any shrine frequented by large groups of pilgrims, since visits to these holy sites are so often grace-filled moments as people discover a path to conversion.”
Later this year, on Sept. 1, 2015, our Holy Father wrote “to all the faithful who, whether in individual Dioceses or as pilgrims to Rome, will experience the grace of the Jubilee. I wish that the Jubilee Indulgence may reach each one as a genuine experience of God’s mercy, which comes to meet each person in the Face of the Father who welcomes and forgives, forgetting completely the sin committed. 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.”
Jubilee Years (Holy Years) have a scriptural origin in the Old Testament. Convoked by the Pope, the Catholic Church has celebrated Jubilee Years since the 1300s, ordinarily every 25 or 50 years. They may be celebrated more frequently when special circumstances prompt them. Their most prominent features include the opening and closing of a “Holy Door” in prominent cathedrals, basilicas or churches, and pilgrimages to those places of worship to which a plenary indulgence is attached.
In accordance with the wishes of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., has, by official decree, designated the following churches in the Diocese of Trenton as places of pilgrimage for the clergy, religious and faithful of the Diocese, with a “Holy Door of Mercy” offering a Jubilee Plenary Indulgence, CLICK HERE.
The “Year of Mercy,” a celebration of the unfailing mercy of God is a time for all Catholics “to put our faith and trust and hope in him, in his mercy, in his truth,” says Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., in a pastoral letter to the people of the Diocese of Trenton.
Officially released Sept. 14, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the letter, titled “Mercy and Truth Shall Meet,” reflects on the relationship between mercy and truth in light of the Holy Year of Mercy announced by Pope Francis.
“Mercy is the love freely shown to us by God who first reveals himself to us and makes his presence known and felt. Mercy is a free gift of God that, when given, draws us into God’s very being, making God present ‘to’ us and then, ‘through’ us to others.”