On Friday, April 10, 2015, while celebrating a penitential service in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis announced an extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy, saying he wants to make it evident that the Church’s mission is to be a witness of compassion. “Let us not forget that God forgives and God forgives always,” Francis said. “Let us never tire of asking for forgiveness.” The Pope continued, “I am convinced that the whole Church — which 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.” Traditionally, every 25 years the Pope proclaims a holy year, which features special celebrations and pilgrimages, strong calls for conversion and repentance, and the offer of special opportunities to experience God’s grace through the sacraments, especially confession. Extraordinary holy years, like the Holy Year of Mercy, are less frequent, but offer the same opportunities for spiritual growth. The jubilee will begin on Dec. 8, 2015,the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. It will end on Nov. 20, 2016, on the feast of Christ the King. The biblical theme the Pope has chosen for the jubilee year is “be merciful, just as your Father is merciful,” something that Francis said applies “especially to confessors.” The Holy Year of Mercy, which will be celebrated not only in Rome but in all the dioceses of the world, will be organized by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization and is designed to widen access to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. (Source Credit: The Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg).
Additional information can be found:
The Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy by the Pontifical Council