Bishop Malesic announces Year of Mercy plans in diocese
December 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On March 13, 2015, the second anniversary of his election as the Successor of Peter, Pope Francis announced the Jubilee Year of Mercy. This is the first Holy Year to celebrate the attribute of God the Father which is most exalted in both the Old and the New Testaments: His Mercy. In fact, in the Bull of Indiction – Misericordae Vultus – Pope Francis tells us that mercy is not an abstract term but mercy is, "… a love that forgives and expresses itself in the gift of oneself. Consequently, wherever the Church is present, the mercy of the Father must be evident. In our parishes, communities, associations and movements, in a word wherever there are Christians, everyone should find an oasis of mercy" (MV 12).
The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, which is charged with the organization of the Jubilee Year, has counseled that the Holy Father has stressed that the Jubilee Year is to be celebrated first of all in individual dioceses as an authentic occasion for the renewal of pastoral life.
Therefore I am pleased to announce the major events and places for the celebration of the Jubilee Year in the Diocese of Greensburg.
Churches of Pilgrimage/Doors of Mercy
The Door of Mercy is a special Holy Door which Pope Francis has asked to be opened in every Diocese on the Third Sunday of Advent, December 13. The Doors of Mercy will allow the faithful during the Jubilee Year to experience the Mercy of the Father in its fullness. The Churches of Pilgrimage will be places where major diocesan events will be celebrated, as well as Churches where pilgrims can come to experience mercy by walking through the Doors of Mercy, touring the Church, and celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I have decided that it is advantageous that we have one Church of Pilgrimage in each county, with the exception of Westmoreland County, where there will be two Churches of Pilgrimage. During this Jubilee Year I have declared the following parishes, Churches of Pilgrimage with Doors of Mercy:
24 Hours for the Lord
In the Bull of Indiction, the Holy Father announced, "…the initiative of '24 Hours for the Lord,' to be celebrated on the Friday and Saturday preceding the Fourth Week of Lent. So many people, including young people, are returning to the Sacrament of Reconciliation; through this experience they are rediscovering a path back to the Lord, living a moment of intense prayer and finding meaning in their lives. Let us offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation in such a generous way that it will invite more people to make use of it. For every penitent, it will be a source of true interior peace" (MV 17). Therefore, the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available for 24 Hours in the Diocese of Greensburg beginning at noon on Friday, March 4, 2016. Each of the Churches of Pilgrimage will host six hour blocks. The schedule will be announced soon.
Divine Mercy Sunday
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is a powerful meditative prayer of the Church. Many of the faithful have a great devotion to this prayer. During this Jubilee Year of Mercy I have a great desire that we as a diocesan faith community gather together for its celebration. Thus, on the Feast of Divine Mercy, Sunday, April 3, 2016, we will gather at a location to be announced for Exposition and Adoration of the Eucharist, to be followed by the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
Days of Mercy
One of the greatest acts of the faithful are works of mercy. In fact, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us, "The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities. Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead. Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God" (CCC 2447). Therefore, in the Spring and Fall of the Jubilee Year in each county we will be scheduling a Day of Mercy. The day will include: a prayer service at local parishes, parish groups doing service with needy parishioners or with a local service agency, pilgrimage to the Church of Pilgrimage in the respective county, Mass with me as Presider and Homilist, and dinner and fellowship.
In the near future the Diocese will announce additional events, including events at the Diocesan Heritage Center, a celebration of the Jubilee for the ill and persons with disabilities, the Jubilee for workers and volunteers of mercy, the Jubilee for Prisoners, and the Feast of All Souls.
More information on the celebration of the Jubilee Year of Mercy will be forthcoming in The Catholic Accent, the diocesan website, and diocesan social media platforms.
Please be assured of my prayers, I look forward to the events that will be celebrated during this Jubilee Year of Mercy. May we continue to serve the Lord with gladness. I remain
Sincerely yours in Christ,
The Most Reverend Edward C. Malesic, JCL
Bishop of Greensburg