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Welcome to 2016 - Year of Mercy

January 25, 2016

Welcome to a new year! We hope it’s a sweet ’16 for you and yours. Of course the big thing, Church-wise this year, is that Pope Francis has claimed it as an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. A jubilee year is a special year in the Church to receive blessings and pardon from our indulgent God. It’s an unusual, joyful year to receive, give and embrace mercy.
Pope Francis’ Bull of Indiction of the Jubilee of Mercy, is a wonderful document full of beautiful ideas and language. These are a few of my favourites:
  • Mercy…is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. #1
  • Mercy will always be greater than any sin. #3
  • The mercy of God [is] the beating heart of the gospel. #12
  • Wherever there are Christians, everyone should find an oasis of mercy. #12
  • The joy of God’s tenderness. #24
See the link below to read the whole thing.
 
I was struck by the number of times Francis uses ‘joy’ and ‘tender’ in the bull. Our God is tender-hearted and we are made in that image, so we are called to be tender-hearted, too. In the bible, ‘mercy’ means to care for someone the way a mother cares for the baby in her womb. This is the tenderness to which we are summoned. Likewise, there is joy in receiving and giving mercy. God delights in being merciful and wants that for us, too. When we are merciful we are full of joy!
 
In our new resource, Doors of Mercy, we have focussed on helping children access an understanding of ‘mercy’ by highlighting four key concepts from the bull. 
  • Mercy is love. 
  • Mercy is compassionate (kind). 
  • Mercy forgives. 
  • Mercy does not judge.
We know that God is all of these things (and more!) and by loving, being kind, forgiving and accepting people as they are, we open the doors of mercy. We can be the door through which God’s mercy flows. 
 
Doors of Mercy by Anne Frawley-Mangan and Michael Mangan, is now available for purchase and digital download from our website. It contains five ready-to-go prayer celebrations to help you observe the Year of Mercy. Each celebration contains the prayer script, mp3s of the songs (vocal and instrumental), sheet music, and ppts of the songs and responses. The titles of the prayer celebrations are:
  • Open Up The Doors Of Mercy
  • Reconciliation: Our Door To God’s Mercy
  • Works Of Mercy
  • The Saints: Models Of Mercy
  • Mary: Mother Of Mercy
Go to the Doors Of Mercy page on the website to listen to sound samples of the songs and to see some sample pages of the prayer celebration scripts.
 
Here are some links to great sites for the Year of Mercy:
 
Misericordiae Vultus This is a link to the papal bull which announced the Year of Mercy. (A ‘bull’ is a letter or declaration by a pope to the people of God.)
 
The Vatican’s Jubilee of Mercy site:
 
Archbishop Mark Coleridge’s Advent Message 2015 talks about Mercy:
 
The Archdiocese of Melbourne: