Parish Community of Saint John the Evangelist 35 William St. Pittston, PA

Jubilee Year of Mercy

Jubilee Year of Mercy

The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy (Latin: Iubilaeum Extraordinarium Misericordiae) is a Roman Catholic period of prayer held from the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8), 2015 to the Feast of Christ the King (November 20), 2016.[1]

The Announcement of the Jubilee of Mercy

Prayer of Pope Francis for the Jubilee

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.
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”.
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.
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 His 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 of you, Lord Jesus, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of
Mercy; you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and
Rite of the Opening of the Door of Mercy  December 13, 2015

Diocese Begins Observance of Holy Year of Mercy

Shortly after opening the central door of the Cathedral of Saint Peter on Sunday, December 13, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera explained that we have now “joined with faithful from around our world and in union with our Holy Father, Pope Francis, to begin a Holy Year focused upon Jesus – our Savior – the Door of Mercy ‘through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons and instills hope.’” “My brothers and sisters – how much we need this year! Our world seems far more broken and wounded than ever. Peace seems so elusive. And left to ourselves, our own efforts to move forward in life are often mired in doubt, fear, guilt and self-absorption,” the Bishop said. He cited the call of Pope Francis to embrace the Year of Mercy as “the time to heal wounds, a time not to be weary of meeting all those who are waiting to see and touch with their hands the signs of the closeness of God, a time to offer everyone the way of forgiveness and reconciliation.” Bishop Bambera reminded us that we have been the recipients of the great gift of God’s mercy and thus are called, in turn, to be merciful – to take upon ourselves the role of loving servant in imitation of the Christ whose name we claim. “My friends, this season of grace in our Church will provide us all with countless opportunities to experience God’s welcome, forgiveness and mercy – here in our Cathedral Church, in parishes, and throughout the Catholic world,” he said. The Bishop offered suggestions for how we can participate in this Jubilee Year: * Consider receiving the great blessing of the Lord’s forgiveness and acceptance that fl ows through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. * Refl ect upon the simple yet life-giving corporal and spiritual works of mercy and enter more deeply into the heart of the Gospel message. * Above all, be attuned to the presence of Jesus as he comes to us through the welcoming embrace of faithful souls who are a part of the Church and – like you and me – seek to live their faith in Jesus. The life and action of the Church, Pope Francis proclaimed, “is authentic and credible only when she becomes a convincing herald of mercy.” Therefore, Bishop Bambera said, “May each of us who seek something more in our lives than this world can provide, come to experience that mercy as a blessing that, as our Holy Father tells us, ‘knows no bounds and extends to everyone without exception. No one is excluded from God’s mercy.’” Holy Year Offers Plenary Indulgence; Pilgrimages to Cathedral Planned Integral to the Church’s tradition of a Holy Door is the granting of a plenary indulgence to those who pass through it, provided they are in a state of grace, have received the sacrament of Reconciliation and Eucharist, and have offered prayers for the intention of our Holy Father In an effort to allow pilgrims from all over the Diocese to enter the Holy Door and experience the mercy of God, the Cathedral of Saint Peter has designated several Saturdays throughout the Year of Mercy for parishes to make a pilgrimage. They include: February 27, April 30, June 4, August 13, September 24 and October 29, each day from 9:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. The pilgrimage begins with Morning Prayer and a brief presentation on the Jubilee Year of Mercy, followed by opportunities for confession and private prayer both in the Cathedral and the Cathedral Prayer Garden. Mass will be celebrated at 12:10 p.m. followed by a tour of the Cathedral. Lunch will be provided in the Diocesan Pastoral Center. Cost for the pilgrimage is $10 per person to cover the cost of lunch, and parishes are encouraged to form a group and arrange their own transportation. Please consider making a pilgrimage to the beautiful and venerable mother church of the Diocese during this Year of Mercy and embrace the tender compassion of God. To register a group from your parish, contact Sue Burke, event coordinator for the Diocesan Pastoral Center, at 570-591-5005 or at Bishop Bambera has also designated the Basilica Shrine of Saint Ann in Scranton as an additional center of Mercy for the Jubilee Year. Information about pilgrimages or additional prayer opportunities at the Basilica will be announced in future editions. “How much I desire that the year to come will be steeped in mercy, so that we can go out to every man and woman, bringing the goodness and tenderness of God!” – Pope Francis D
Our parish will become involved in the “Year of Mercy” as proclaimed by our Holy Father, Pope Francis, in several ways, some of which follow:
Please feel free to offer an intention during the prayers of the faithful.  The deacon or lector will pause to enable you to do so.
A “YEAR OF MERCY” pledge is on the last page of the bulletin as well as at the entrances of our church.  Please consider doing one or two of the suggested “acts of mercy” during this year.  Sign your pledge and place it in the special basket which is located on the altar rail to the right of the sanctuary.  Other suggestions can be found on line at
Offer the Holy Father’s prayer for this year:
Lord Jesus Christ, Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing, so the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord and your church. With renewed enthusiasm, 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.  Amen.
Reflect on the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy and their impact on your life:
CORPORAL—To feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, care for the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead.
      SPIRITUAL—to admonish sinners, instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, comfort the
      sorrowful, bear wrongs patiently, forgive all injuries, and pray for the living and the dead.