Pope Francis has discerned a need for mercy everywhere in the world and the Church and has declared an Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy which begins on December 8.
Traditionally, such a declaration is accompanied by a letter which outlines the Pope’s vision for the year. Pope Francis has addressed this letter, not just to the Catholic Church, but to anyone who reads it. This reflects his deep appreciation that many people have a thirst for mercy. Consequently, he encourages us to share this year with all who need to hear the word of mercy.
The way the Catholic Church marks the beginning of such a year is for the Pope to open the Holy Door in St Peter’s Rome. The door stands as a symbol of the invitation to cross the threshold into the Year of Mercy and all it asks of us. This time, to facilitate the participation of all members of the Church, he has asked that a similar Holy Door be opened in every Catholic diocese.
On December 13, we will open our Holy Door for the Year of Mercy at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in a special liturgy (not Mass) which will begin at 4.00pm in the Victor Peters Suite. We will process from there to the cathedral where the liturgy will continue. At this time I will also inaugurate the celebrations marking 150 years of the diocese.
I invite all members of your Church to join us in prayer and to share our hospitality. So please extend the accompanying invitation to all your people. On a practical note, it may help you to know that the clergy will be taking part simply as members of the congregation.
If you would like to know more about the Year of Mercy please visit the Year of Mercy website http://www.im.va/content/gdm/en.html and another recently opened Australian site http://www.evangeliseaustralia.com/year-of-mercy/year-of-mercy.html.