December 8, 2015, begins the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. Pope Francis marked the occasion, which falls on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, by opening the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica, in Rome.
“To pass through the Holy Door means to rediscover the infinite mercy of the Father who welcomes everyone and goes out personally to encounter each of them,” said Pope Francis during the December 8 Mass. The Holy Doors normally are covered in brick, except for the occasion of a Holy Year, or a Jubilee Year. While Jubilee Years usually occur every 25 years (the last being in 1999 to mark the beginning of the new millennium), Pope Francis decided to designate December 8 2015 – November 20, 2016 as the Year of Mercy, and because it is not in the usual 25 year period, it is called “extraordinary.”
Superior General Brother Robert Schieler, FSC, reflected, “The Special Jubilee Year of Mercy brings us back to the fundamental truths of our faith we learned as children; namely, to practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. We should take this opportunity to recall the corporal works: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead.”
Listen to the full reflection from Brother Robert.