Jubilee Year of Mercy at the Shrine of St. Anthony
The Holy Year of Mercy begins December 8, 2015 and continues to November 20, 2016. The Shrine of St. Anthony is one of seven official pilgrimage sites with a "Holy Door" in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The Shrine of St. Anthony will be celebrating the opening of this Holy Door after noon Mass on Sunday December 13th, 2015.
Please consider a trip to the Shrine for all that it has to offer during this special Jubilee Year. You are always welcome at the Shrine of St. Anthony!
What is a Jubilee Year?
According to the Holy See, the origin of the Christian Jubilee goes back to Old Testament times. The Law of Moses prescribed a special year for the Jewish people (Lev 25:10-14). The trumpet with which this particular year was announced was a goat's horn, called Yobel in Hebrew, and the origin of the word "jubilee." The celebration of this year also included the restitution of land to the original owners, the remission of debts, the liberation of slaves, and "rest" for the land, which was left fallow. In the New Testament, Jesus presents himself as the One who brings the old Jubilee to completion, because he has come to "preach the year of the Lord's favor" (Lk 4:18-19; see also Is 61:1-2).
The Holy See says that, in the Roman Catholic tradition, a Holy Year or Jubilee is a great religious event, held roughly every 25 years, for the forgiveness of sins and the punishment due to sin. The Christian Jubilee tradition began with Pope Boniface VIII in 1300. Since that time, the Church has celebrated 26 ordinary and three extraordinary Jubilee Years. A Jubilee is a year of reconciliation between adversaries, conversion, and a time to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Consequently, it is a time of solidarity, hope, justice, and commitment to serve God with joy and in peace with our brothers and sisters. A Jubilee Year is, above all, the year of Christ, who brings life and grace to humanity.
Why did Pope Francis call the Jubilee Year of Mercy?
On April 11, 2015, right before First Vespers of the Vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday, the Holy Father stood before the Holy Door in St. Peter's Basilica and announced an historic event. For only the fourth time in Church history, there will be an extraordinary Jubilee Year – in this case, an extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. "Jesus Christ is the face of the Father's mercy," Pope Francis says in opening his papal bull Misericordiae Vultus (The Face of Mercy). In this light, "Merciful like the Father" is the motto he chose for the Jubilee Year. It comes from Luke 6:36, "Be merciful just as your Father is merciful."
The extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy runs from Dec. 8, 2015, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, to Nov. 20, 2016, the solemnity of Christ the King. By calling for the Jubilee Year, Pope Francis has underscored the signature message of his pontificate: mercy.
Pope Francis explained, "Here, then, is the reason for the Jubilee: because this is the time for mercy. It is the favorable time to heal wounds, a time not to be weary of meeting all those who are waiting to see and to touch with their hands the signs of the closeness of God, a time to offer everyone the way of forgiveness and reconciliation."
Like all previous Jubilees, the Jubilee Year of Mercy features a very special plenary indulgence (the complete remission of all temporal punishment due to sin).
I wish that the Jubilee Indulgence may reach each one as a genuine experience of God's mercy, which comes to meet each person in the Face of the Father who welcomes and forgives, forgetting completely the sin committed.
– Pope Francis, Letter to Archbishop Rino Fisichella, Sept. 1, 2015.
There have been many Jubilee Years – 26 ordinary Jubilees and three extraordinary – and each has featured a special plenary indulgence.
This time around, Pope Francis is seeking to make the indulgence as widely available as possible. In the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, a Holy Door is to be opened in every cathedral around the world, as well as in particular shrines, such as here at our Shrine of St. Anthony.
Even though we can only obtain one plenary indulgence a day, if you perform the required actions for other plenary indulgences on the same day, you can still obtain multiple partial indulgences.
To receive the Jubilee Year indulgence, you must fulfill the usual conditions, (specified below) and perform the indulgenced act: passing through a designated Holy Door during the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy (between Dec. 8, 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and Nov. 20, 2016, the Solemnity of Christ the King) or performing one of the corporal or spiritual works of mercy.
As for the sick and the elderly, the Holy Father says, "For them it will be of great help to live their sickness and suffering as an experience of closeness to the Lord who in the mystery of his Passion, death and Resurrection indicates the royal road which gives meaning to pain and loneliness. Living with faith and joyful hope this moment of trial, receiving communion or attending Holy Mass and community prayer, even through the various means of communication, will be for them the means of obtaining the Jubilee Indulgence."
For the imprisoned, the Holy Father says, "They may obtain the Indulgence in the chapels of the prisons. May the gesture of directing their thought and prayer to the Father each time they cross the threshold of their cell signify for them their passage through the Holy Door, because the mercy of God is able to transform hearts, and is also able to transform bars into an experience of freedom."
You may receive the plenary indulgence yourself, or offer it for a person in purgatory.
To refresh everyone's memories, here are the normal conditions for receiving a plenary indulgence:
- It is necessary that the faithful be in the state of grace at least at the time the indulgenced work is completed.
- A plenary indulgence can be gained only once a day. In order to obtain it, the faithful must, in addition to being in the state of grace:
- have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin;
- have sacramentally confessed their sins;
- receive the Holy Eucharist (it is certainly better to receive it while participating in Holy Mass, but for the indulgence only Holy Communion is required);
- and pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.
- It is appropriate, but not necessary, that the sacramental Confession and especially Holy Communion and the prayer for the Pope's intentions take place on the same day that the indulgenced work is performed; but it is sufficient that these sacred rites and prayers be carried out within several days (about 20) before or after the indulgenced act. Prayer for the Pope's intentions is left to the choice of the faithful, but an Our Father and a Hail Mary are suggested. One sacramental Confession suffices for several plenary indulgences, but a separate Holy Communion and a separate prayer for the Holy Father's intentions are required for each plenary indulgence.
- Indulgences can always be applied either to oneself or to the souls of the deceased, but they cannot be applied to other persons living on earth.
Things to do in the Jubilee Year
In calling for the Jubilee Year, Pope Francis is encouraging the faithful to know the face of God's mercy — Jesus Christ Incarnate — and to show that face of mercy to our friends and neighbors (as well as our enemies!).
To that end, we have prepared for you a to-do list for the upcoming Jubilee:
- Forgive those who have hurt you or have done you wrong. If possible, consider forgiving debts owed you and/or returning collateral.
- Go to Confession regularly — monthly or even weekly.
- Read and meditate on the Sacred Scriptures, especially the Gospel of Luke.
- Perform one or more works of mercy every day.
Corporal Works of Mercy:
- Feed the hungry
- Give drink to the thirsty
- Clothe the naked
- Shelter the homeless
- Visit the imprisoned
- Visit the sick
- Bury the dead
Spiritual Works of Mercy:
- Instruct the ignorant
- Counsel the doubtful
- Admonish the sinner
- Bear wrongs patiently
- Forgive offenses willingly
- Comfort the sorrowful
- Pray for the living & dead
- Go on a pilgrimage. You are always welcome at the Shrine of St. Anthony.
- Share the Good News of God's mercy through your words and good deeds.
- Resolve to learn more about some saints who are outstanding for receiving mercy or showing God's mercy to those around them.