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Pope Francis: homily with announcement of Year of Mercy

Francis has declared an Extraordinary Holy Year which will begin on 8 December 2015 and conclude on 20 November 2016, the Feast of Christ the King.
The Holy Door will be opened to mark the occasion.

Francis announced the Holy Year saying: “Dear brothers and sisters, I have often thought about how the Church might make clear its mission of being a witness to mercy. It is journey that begins with a spiritual conversion. For this reason, I have decided to call anextraordinary Jubilee that is to have the mercy of God at its center. It shall be a Holy Year of Mercy. We want to live this Year in the light of the Lord's words: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (cf. Lk 6:36)”
This Holy Year will begin on this coming Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and will end on November 20, 2016, the Sunday dedicated to Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe – and living face of the Father’s mercy. I entrust the organization of this Jubilee to the Pontifical Council for Promotion of the New Evangelization, that [the dicastery] might animate it as a new stage in the journey of the Church on its mission to bring to every person the Gospel of mercy.
I am convinced that the whole Church will find in this Jubilee the joy needed to rediscover and make fruitful the mercy of God, with which all of us are called to give consolation to every man and woman of our time. From this moment, we entrust this Holy Year to the Mother of Mercy, that she might turn her gaze upon us and watch over our journey”.


With this announcement, Francis wishes to encourage people to rediscover the sacrament of penance and reconciliation and remember that God never tires of forgiving, we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy. "The bull of indiction will be issued next month, on Divine Mercy Sunday (12 April) - a celebration introduced by John Paul II. This new Holy Year, therefore, does not come under the category of “ordinary” Holy Years celebrated every 25 years (the last of these being the Jubilee of 2000) but under the category of “extraordinary” Holy Years, which the Church proclaims for outstanding events. These include the Jubilee proclaimed by John Paul II in 1983 to mark 1950 years since the Redemption carried out by Christ through his Death and Resurrection in the year 33.
“The way of the Church” - the Pope said - is not to condemn anyone for eternity.” Rather, “It is to pour out the balm of God’s mercy on all those who ask for it with a sincere heart. The way of the church is precisely to leave her four walls behind and to go out in search of those who are distant, those essentially on the ‘outskirts’ of life; to adopt fully God’s own approach; to follow the Master who said: “Those who are well have no need of the physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call, not the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
What is a Holy Year?  

In the Roman Catholic tradition, a Holy Year, or Jubilee is a great religious event
It is a year of forgiveness of sins and also punishment due to sin, it is a year of reconciliation between adversaries, of conversion and receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and consequently of solidarity, hope, justice, commitment to serve God with joy and in peace with our brothers and sisters.
The first Christian Jubilee was proclaimed by Pope Boniface VIII in 1300, through the the Bull "Antiquorum habet fida relatio". Boniface announced that he would concede not only full and copious, but the most full, pardon of all sins to those who visited the basilicas of St. Peter and St. Paul in Rome, at least once a day for a specified time—in the case of the inhabitants of the city for thirty days, in the case of strangers for fifteen.

A Jubilee year is above all the year of Christ, who brings life and grace to humanity.

Traditionally, every 25 years the Pope proclaims a Holy Year.
Extraordinary Holy Years, like the Holy Year of Mercy, are less frequent, but offer the same opportunities for spiritual growth.

"I am convinced that the whole church -- that has much need to receive mercy because we are sinners — will find in this jubilee the joy to rediscover and render fruitful the mercy of God, with which we are all called to give consolation to every man and woman of our time. Let us not forget that God pardons and God pardons always. Let us never tire of asking for forgiveness." - Pope Francis

Before the Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis, 29 Jubilee years have already been held throughout  Christian history.
In the 20th century, Jubilees were held in 1925, 1933 (in commemoration of Jesus' death), 1950, 1966 (post-Council jubilee), 1975, 1983 (Holy Year of the Redemption) and 2000 (Great Jubilee).

Pope Francis has decided to focus on Divine Mercy during this extraordinary Holy Year, which will start on Tuesday, December 8 2015, with the Mass for the Opening of the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica, in St. Peter's Square.
On the 20th of November 2016, the Jubilee of Mercy will end with the Closing of the Holy Door. 

 Check out the Jubilee's Calendar
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