The Jubilee Year of Mercy in the Catholic Church, proclaimed by Pope Francis and opened on 8 December last, will draw to a close over the next two weekends. On Sunday 20 November, the feast of Jesus Christ, Universal King, the Pope will close Holy Door at St Peter’s in Rome.
On this coming Sunday, 13 November, each diocese will hold liturgical events to mark the end of the jubilee. Its closing in the Diocese of Clogher will be marked at the 12.30pm Mass in St Macartan’s Cathedral, Monaghan. In addition, each parish will celebrate the event at Masses on Sunday next, with prayers and hymns that focus on mercy and on thanksgiving for the jubilee. Resources have been provided to all parishes by the Diocesan Liturgy Commission.
In keeping with the wish of Pope Francis that the jubilee be celebrated in each local Church (diocese), the year was marked in Clogher by a number of events, including gatherings of priests and laity which reflected on mercy in today’s world. A Door of Mercy was opened by Bishop Liam MacDaid at St Macartan’s Cathedral in December last and another was opened at St Patrick’s Basilica on Lough Derg by the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Browne, in May of this year. These have been the points of pilgrimage for many during the year. Another major highlight was the 24 Hours for the Lord, celebrated in all parishes in March, when every person was invited and welcomed to churches to experience God’s loving mercy. Other local events included pilgrimages, group reflections of the Gospel of Luke (the Gospel of mercy and compassion), and various other initiatives.
Pope Francis has said that ‘mercy and forgiveness must not remain as pleasant words, but must be made manifest in daily life. Loving and forgiving are tangible and visible signs that faith has transformed our hearts and allow us to express God’s very life in ourselves. Loving and forgiving as God loves and forgives’ (General Audience, 16 December 2015). Therefore, the work of mercy must continue to be the lived reality of the Church’s mission in proclaiming the Gospel to the world, through its witness. In a diocese that includes the shrine of St Patrick’s Purgatory at Lough Derg, this challenge has added resonance and responsibility