Pope Francis announced the Jubilee Year of Mercy will take place from December 8, 2015, to November 20, 2016. How can we accept the mercy of God and show that mercy to others? That is the question of the year.
The following quote is taken from the Pope's official statement:
"Dear brothers and sisters, I have often thought of how the Church may render more clear her mission to be a witness to mercy;
and we have to make this journey. It is a journey which begins with spiritual conversion. Therefore, I have decided to announce an Extraordinary Jubilee which has at its centre the mercy of God. It will be a Holy Year of Mercy. We want to live in the light of the word of the Lord: “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (cf. Lk 6:36). And this especially applies to confessors! So much mercy!
I am confident that the whole Church, which is in such need of mercy for we are sinners, will be able to find in this Jubilee the joy of rediscovering and rendering fruitful God’s mercy, with which we are all called to give comfort to every man and every woman of our time. Do not forget that God forgives all, and God forgives always. Let us never tire of asking forgiveness. Let us henceforth entrust this Year to the Mother of Mercy, that she turn her gaze upon us and watch over our journey: our penitential journey, our year-long journey with an open heart, to receive the indulgence of God, to receive the mercy of God."
Each month of this special year will focus on a different Corporal or Spriritual Work of Mercy -- specific actions of charity -- all Catholics can do to take part.
Corporal Works of Mercy
- Feed the hungry
- Give drink to the thirsty
- Clothe the naked
- Shelter the homeless
- Visit the sick
- Visit the imprisoned
- Bury the dead
Spiritual Works of Mercy
- Instruct the ignorant
- Counsel the doubtful
- Admonish sinners
- Bear wrongs patiently
- Forgive offenses willingly
- Comfort the afflicted
- Pray for the living and the dead
The focus for this month, December 2015, is "Instruct the Ignorant." Who around you is misinformed or confused about the faith?
The command to "instruct the ignorant" does not mean we have to stand on street corners with a bullhorn passing out flyers to innocent pedestrians; there are easier and better ways of spreading the truth of our Catholic faith. When a cousin starts to voice complaints about the Church at the family Christmas party, offer your opinion: Yes, many people, even Catholics, disagree on the several rules and customs, but we can all appreciate the general mission and values of love, charity and social justice. If your son or daughter has stopped going to Mass on Sundays because it's "too"boring," they "don't have enough time to go," or they "don't get anything out of it," share a story of when you faced that difficulty in your faith life and how you overcame it.