Irish bishops welcome the start of the Jubilee Year of Mercy for the Universal Catholic Church

08 Dec 2015

Jubilee of Mercy web image with dates 2

Bishops to open “Holy Doors” in dioceses for the Jubilee Year of Mercy

Irish bishops warmly welcome the Jubilee Year of Mercy which begins today the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (8 December) and which will run until the Solemnity of Christ the King (20 November 2016). The Apostolic Letter for the Year of Mercy from Pope Francis, the official prayer (see below) and hymn, as well as pastoral letters by bishops are available on An explanation of the logo and motto ‘Merciful like the Father’ (Luke 6:36) and the calendar of major events in Rome are also detailed on this special web feature.

A jubilee refers to a special year of remission of sins and universal pardon. The Catholic Church has called jubilee years every twenty-five or fifty years since the year 1300, and has also called special jubilee years from time to time, known as extraordinary jubilee years. The last jubilee year was held in the year 2000 during the papacy of Saint John Paul II, and this was known as “the Great Jubilee.” The last extraordinary jubilee year was held in 1983 to celebrate 1,950 years since the death and Resurrection of Jesus.

During his presentation of the Jubilee Year, Pope Francis invited the faithful to realise the mercy of God as central to their lives:

“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.”

Following the example of Pope Francis, Irish bishops will open “Holy Doors” in every diocese. Bishops encourage the faithful to take part in local ceremonies, to undertake pilgrimage, avail of resources on, and to pray the Year of Mercy prayer from the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization:

Prayer for the Jubilee of Mercy
Lord Jesus Christ,
you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father,
and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him.
Show us your face and we will be saved.
Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money;
the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things;
made Peter weep after his betrayal,
and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.
Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman:
“If you knew the gift of God!”
You are the visible face of the invisible Father,
of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy:
let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.
You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness
in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error:
let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.
Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing,
so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord,
and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor,
proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed,
and restore sight to the blind.
We ask this of you, Lord Jesus, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of
Mercy; you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and