Today, December 8, 2015, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, we begin a Year of Mercy.
This is a very special year, a year of jubilee, a holy year, in which sins are forgiven and all are welcome home to God. As Pope Francis has said, “The time has come for the church to take up the joyful call to mercy once more. It is time to return to the basics and to bear the weaknesses and struggles of our brothers and sisters.”
Pope Francis officially marked the beginning of this special year today in Rome by opening the “Holy Door,” an entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica which is usually blocked.
After declaring the jubilee open, Francis appeared from his window overlooking St. Peter’s Square to deliver the Angelus prayer, during which he called on Catholics to celebrate the Dec. 8 Feast of the Immaculate Conception in two ways.
“First: Fully welcome God and his merciful grace into our lives. Second: Become in our time creators of mercy through an evangelical path.”
“Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
“I continue to say that today the revolution is that of tenderness, because from here derives justice and everything else.”