2016 Jubilee Year of Mercy

year of mercy

The 2016 Jubilee was first announced by Pope Francis on March 13, 2015. It was declared in the pope’s April 2015 papal bull of indiction, “The Face of Mercy“). It is the 27th holy year in history, following the ordinary 2000 Jubilee during John Paul II’s papacy.pope

“This year again, on the eve of the Fourth Sunday of Lent, we are gathered to celebrate the penitential liturgy. We are united with the many Christians who, today, in every part of the world, have accepted the invitation to live this moment as a sign of the Lord’s goodness. The Sacrament of Reconciliation, indeed, allows us to draw near to the Father with trust to have the certainty of his forgiveness. He is truly “rich in mercy” and extends it abundantly upon those who appeal to Him with a sincere heart.”

Being here to experience his love, in any case, is above all a fruit of his grace. As the Apostle Paul reminded us, God never ceases to demonstrate the wealth of his mercy throughout the centuries. The transformation of the heart that leads us to confess our sins is a “gift from God”. We can not do it alone. The power to confess our sins is a gift from God, it is a gift, it is “his work” (cf. Eph 2:8-10). Being touched with tenderness by his hand and molded by his grace allows us to draw near to the priest without fear for our sins, but with the certainty that we will be accepted by him in the name of God, and understood despite our wretchedness; and even to approach without a defence attorney: we have the One who alone gave his life for our sins! It is He who always defends us before the Father, He always defends us. As we exit the confessional, we will feel his strength which gives new life and restores ardor to the faith. After confession we are reborn.

The Gospel we have heard (cf. Lk 7:36-50) opens to us a path of hope and comfort. It is good to feel Jesus’ compassionate gaze upon us, just as it was felt by the sinful woman in the house of the Pharisee. In this passage two words persistently return: love and judgment.

There is the love of the sinful woman who humbles herself before the Lord; but before that is the merciful love of Jesus for her, which drives her to approach him. Her tears of repentance and joy wash the feet of the Master, and her hair dries them with gratitude; the kisses are an expression of her pure love; and the perfumed ointment poured in abundance attests to how precious He is in her eyes. This woman’s every gesture speaks of love and expresses her desire to have unwavering certitude in her life: that of having been forgiven. And this certitude is beautiful! And Jesus gives her this certitude: in accepting her He demonstrates the love God has for her, just for her, a public sinner! Love and forgiveness are simultaneous: God forgives her many sins, He forgives her for all of them, for “she loved much” (Lk 7:47); and she adores Jesus because she feels that in Him there is mercy and not condemnation. She feels that Jesus understands her with love, she who is a sinner. Thanks to Jesus, God lifts her many sins off her shoulders, He no longer remembers them (cf. Is 43:25). For this is also true: when God forgives, He forgets. God’s forgiveness is great! For her now a new era begins; through love she is reborn into a new life.

This woman has truly encountered the Lord. In silence, she opened her heart; in sorrow, she showed repentance for her sins; by her tears, she appealed to divine goodness to receive forgiveness. For her there will be no judgment but that which comes from God, and this is the judgment of mercy. The hero of this encounter is certainly love, a mercy which goes beyond justice.pilgrim

Simon, the master of the house, the Pharisee, on the contrary, doesn’t manage to find the road of love. Everything is calculated, everything is thought out…. He stands firm on the threshold of formality. It is an unpleasant thing, formal love, he doesn’t understand. He is not capable of taking that next step forward to meet Jesus who will bring him salvation. Simon limits himself to inviting Jesus to lunch, but did not truly welcome him. In his thoughts Simon invokes only justice and in doing so he errs. His judgment of the woman distances him from the truth and prevents him from even understanding who his guest is. He stopped at the surface — at formality — incapable of seeing the heart. Before the parable of Jesus and the question of which servant would love more, the pharisee responds correctly: “The one, I suppose, to whom he forgave more”. Jesus doesn’t fail to observe: “You have judged rightly” (Lk 7:43). When Simon’s judgment is turned to love, then is he in the right.

Jesus’ reminder urges each of us never to stop at the surface of things, especially when we have a person before us. We are called to look beyond, to focus on the heart in order to see how much generosity everyone is capable of. No one can be excluded from the mercy of God; everyone knows the way to access it and the Church is the house where everyone is welcomed and no one is rejected. Her doors remain wide open, so that those who are touched by grace may find the assurance of forgiveness. The greater the sin, the greater the love that must be shown by the Church to those who repent. With how much love Jesus looks at us! With how much love He heals our sinful heart! Our sins never scare Him. Let us consider the prodigal son who, when he decided to return to his father, considers making a speech, but the father doesn’t let him speak. He embraces him (cf. Lk 15:17-24). This is the way Jesus is with us. “Father, I have so many sins….” — “But He will be glad if you go: He will embrace you with such love! Don’t be afraid”.

pope message

Dear brothers and sisters, I have often thought of how the Church may render more clear her mission to be a witness to mercy; and we have to make this journey. It is a journey which begins with spiritual conversion. Therefore, I have decided to announce an Extraordinary Jubilee which has at its centre the mercy of God. It will be a Holy Year of Mercy. We want to live in the light of the word of the Lord: “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (cf. Lk 6:36). And this especially applies to confessors! So much mercy!

This Holy Year will commence on the next Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and will conclude on Sunday, 20 November 2016, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe and living face of the Father’s mercy. I entrust the organization of this Jubilee to the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, in order that it may come to life as a new step on the Church’s journey in her mission to bring the Gospel of mercy to each person.

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.

Obtaining a Plenary Indulgence during the Holy Year of Mercy

What is a plenary indulgence?

An indulgence is the remission in the eyes of God of the temporal punishment due to sins, the guilt of which has been absolved through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  The Christian faithful who are rightly disposed and observe the definite, prescribed conditions gain this remission through the effective assistance of the Church.  A plenary indulgence frees a person from all of the temporal punishment due to sins and may be gained only once on any one day.  Indulgences are only applicable to oneself and to the dead.

How can one obtain a plenary indulgence during the Holy Year of Mercy?

By having the intention of acquiring the indulgence, going to confession (before or after the visit), receiving Holy Communion, making a profession of faith, praying for the Holy Father and for the intentions that he bears in his heart for the good of the Church and of the entire world while doing any of the following:

  • The faithful by visiting one of the Diocesan Pilgrimage churches;
  • The sick and people who are elderly and alone by receiving Holy Communion or attending Holy Mass and community prayer (even through the various means of communication);
  • Those who are incarcerated by visiting the chapel in the prison;
  • The faithful by personally performing one or more of the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.
  • The faithful by remembering the deceased at Holy Mass and praying that they be freed from every remnant of fault and thus be embraced by God in the blessedness of life eternal.

     Spiritual Works of Mercy

    Admonish the sinner.
    Instruct the ignorant.
    Counsel the doubtful.
    Comfort the sorrowful.
    Bear wrongs patiently.
    Forgive all injuries.
    Pray for the living and dead.

     Corporal Works of Mercy

    Feed the hungry.
    Give drink to the thirsty.
    Clothe the naked.
    Shelter the homeless.
    Visit the sick.
    Visit the imprisoned.
    Bury the dead.

    Pilgrimage Churches in the Diocese of Joliet-in-IllinoisPilgrimageChurches2

Prayer for the Holy Year 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 through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy, you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.

wydpopeWorld Youth Day Krakow 2016

The theme of the XXXI World Youth Day Krakow 2016 is: ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy’ (Mt 5:7). Our Holy Father Francis has chosen the fifth of the eight Beatitudes, given by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, to show the importance of the Beatitudes which are at the heart of Jesus’ teaching. In his first Sermon, Jesus presents us with eight examples of qualities that bring us closer to the Kingdom of God.

The choice of Krakow and World Youth Day’s motto lead us to the Spark of Mercy. Since the appearance of Jesus to St. Sister Faustina, Mercy has been radiating from Krakow-Lagiewniki to the whole universal Church. Krakow is widely known as the centre of worship of God’s mercy, and young pilgrims who come will surely want to see the place of the revelations, Sister Faustina’s tomb, and the shrine – the place where St. John Paul II entrusted the world to God’s Mercy.

It’s worth noting that the fifth Beatitude sums up the first two years of Pope Francis’ pontificate as well. During that time he has striven to show the Church God’s love towards man and the necessity of being merciful to each other.

At a meeting with young Argentinians in Rio, Pope Francis advised: ‘Read the Beatitudes, it will do you good.’ Our task is to re-read the message of the Beatitudes. For three consecutive years, the Pope has chosen for us three out of the eight Beatitudes as the themes for the WYDs. Each one is elaborated on in his addresses, in which he comments on theological matters and gives the youth some tasks for the next year of spiritual work.

“Read the Beatitudes – it will do you good.”

wyd themeAll of the World Youth Days – according to their founder and patron, St. John Paul II – focus on one biblical thought, which often refers to the spirituality of the particular host city. The main topic accompanies young people not only during the preparation stage for WYD, but it is also discussed during the main events; at catechesis with the Bishops and in the messages and homilies delivered by our Holy Father during the central events.

“When Jesus sent the Twelve out on mission, he said to them: “Take no gold, nor silver, nor copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff; for the labourers deserve their food” (Mt 10:9-10). Evangelical poverty is a basic condition for spreading the kingdom of God. The most beautiful and spontaneous expressions of joy which I have seen during my life were by poor people who had little to hold onto.” Pope Francis

vaticanParish Celebrations for the Holy Year of Mercy

bikeBike Trip/Pilgrimage to Divine Mercy Church Pilgrimage Site July 9th
Saturday, July 9, 2016 Meet at 8am at Corpus Christi.
Join our pastor, Fr. Mark Jurzyk, on a 10-mile bike trip to Divine Mercy Parish in Lombard. Cost $5.00 per person and $15 for families. We will pray at the Shrine and have a cookout.


World Youth Day Krakow 2016 Pilgrimagepope wyd

Corpus Christi Church is organizing a pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Krakow July 2016.  We will be traveling to Warsaw on a pilgrimage with 72 people from several parishes in our diocese. We will meet up with Pope Francis and over one million other young adult Catholics from all over the world. We will travel to important Catholic sites in the “City of the Saints” – Krakow. Places lived and traveled by St John Paul II, St Maximilian Kolbe, St Edith Stein, St Stanislaw and many other important Polish saints. We will have Mass with Pope Francis along with praying the Stations of the Cross. We will spend hours in prayer with the Holy Father along with a million young people from every continent. We will reflect on the theme of mercy. “Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.” We will be challenge to be people of mercy and to create an age of mercy for the all the world.

Diocesan Celebrations for the Holy Year of Mercy

December 12, 2015 Opening of the Holy Year and the Holy Door Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus, Joliet 5:00 pm Mass
March 4, 2016 Hours for the Lord with the availability to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation
November 20, 2016 Closing of the Holy Year and the Holy Door Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus, Joliet 9:00 am Mass