Every twenty-five years, the Catholic Church celebrates a jubilee, or holy year. Every fifty years, there is a very special celebration appropriately called an “Extraordinary Jubilee” that is set apart from the ordinary jubilee cycle by an emphasis on a particular event or theme.
We are now privileged to be in the midst of the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, which began on December 8, 2015, and continues until November 20, 2016. In a homily last April, Pope Francis announced this year as the time for “mercy … a time to offer everyone, everyone, the way of forgiveness and reconciliation.”
As Catholics, and more so as human beings, we practice mercy every day. Pope Francis Tweeted, “To understand, forgive, accompany and integrate. That is the mindset which should prevail in the Church.” In the announcement of the Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis expresses his confidence that the whole Church “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.”
In celebration of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, the schools in the Archdiocese of Hartford have compiled videos from our staff and students that demonstrate how we are building a culture of mercy within our community. In addition to the videos, you can find resources, including a schedule of events for the year, prayers, grade-appropriate recommended reading, and topics for discussions on mercy in the context of family. These links will help you open up a discussion about mercy with your entire family.
In one of the videos, representatives of East Catholic High School explain their STRETCH (Service That Requires Engaging The Compassionate Heart) program, which teaches students to: “Strive to build loving and honest relationships with each other, extending mercy to those we serve. And in the process learning what it means to live with compassion and love [and recognize that] we show mercy sometimes, and sometimes mercy is shown to us.”
We asked Notre Dame High School Peer Counselors what mercy means to them. Their responses included:
- Lifting burdens
What will you do to help yourself and the world rediscover the power of mercy?