On March 13, 2015, the second anniversary of his election as the Successor of Peter, Pope Francis announced the Extraordinary Holy Year. This is the first Holy Year to celebrate not an anniversary of some kind, but the attribute of God the Father which is most exalted in both the Old and the New Testaments: His Mercy.

The Bull of Indiction of the Jubilee, Misericordiae Vultus, given on April 11, casts further light on the Holy Father’s initiative, becoming the key to reflection on the Holy Year and the privileged source for information on its implementation.

The degree to which mercy occupies a central place in the pontificate of Pope Francis is clear right from his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium in which the Holy Father writes: “The Church has an endless desire to show mercy, the fruit of her own experience of the power of the Father’s infinite mercy” (EG 24).

Across the rich pages of Misericordae Vultus–itself a true theological synthesis on mercy–Pope Francis outlines the very course and direction of the Jubilee. Mercy is not an abstract term, but one which expresses the face of God, the daily and concrete actions of Jesus of Nazareth, and the form by which to give convincing expression of the credibility of the Church.

This means that we are each of us called to adhere to the signs of God wherever and in whatever way they are manifested. As the Pope states: “The Church makes herself a servant of this love [of Christ] and mediates it to all people: 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).

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All but two Jubilees are to be held at 3pm EST, at Saint Joseph Co-Cathedral in Burlington - the location of the Holy Door of Mercy. Exceptions are the June 18th Jubilee for Priests and Seminarians to be held at 10a.m. at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral, and the July 17th Jubilee for Families to be held at St. Anne's Shrine, Isle la Motte @ 12:15pm.

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