Pope Francis has announced that from 8 December 2015 to 20 November 2016 the church will celebrate a Holy Year or ‘Jubilee of Mercy’. Pope Francis invites us to contemplate the mercy of God revealed to us in the face of Jesus, his Son. Keeping our eyes fixed and focused on him, the Holy Father leads us as a community of faith to ponder, learn, understand, and experience the steadfast love of the Lord, to encounter once again the tender love of God, and to be filled with the knowledge of his boundless love for us. Knowing that love, understanding and experiencing that love and mercy, Pope Francis is bidding us reflect, then, on how we might better radiate and reflect the mercy of God into our world. He beckons us into a kind of ‘school’ of mercy through the pilgrimage of the Jubilee so that we might be converted by God’s tender love in order to be mercy for our world and for all people.
This is a Jubilee of welcome, of belonging, of accompanying others as they draw near to encounter Gods love for them. Through our crossing of a threshold, we move into deeper communion with God… but it’s a threshold that we cross ourselves, first, and then accompany others, too, in their desire to find – in God – gentleness, forgiveness, boundless love and mercy.
To mark the start of this Holy Year ‘Jubilee of Mercy’ Evening Prayer was celebrated at Saint Edmund’s Church on Tuesday 8th December 2015. A parish pilgrimage to the ‘Holy Door of Mercy’ at Downside Abbey took place on Saturday 3rd September 2016.