Pope announces Year of Mercy in 2016

Pope announces Year of Mercy in 2016

Extraordinary jubilee year

At a Lenten penance service in St. Peter’s Basilica on March 13, Pope Francis announced an extraordinary jubilee, a Holy Year of Mercy, to highlight the Catholic Church's "mission to be a witness of mercy." The special year will take place Dec. 8, 2015 until Nov. 20, 2016.

According to Catholic News Service, at the time of the announcement, the pope emphasized a frequent theme of his: "No one can be excluded from God's mercy.”

He continued during his homily: "I frequently have thought about how the church can make more evident its mission to be a witness of mercy."

The biblical theme of the year will be "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

Traditionally, every 25 years the popes proclaim a holy year, which features special celebrations and pilgrimages, strong calls for conversion and repentance, and the offer of special opportunities to experience God's grace through the sacraments, especially Confession. Extraordinary holy years, like the Holy Year of Mercy, are less frequent but offer the same opportunities for spiritual growth.

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