The Year of Mercy comes to an End in the Roman Catholic Church

Photo courtesy of jesuits.org

"Pope Francis blessing the Holy Door of the Year of Mercy"

Salvador Martinez, Photojournalist

The door has finally come to its close. On Sunday, November 20th (11/20/16) the Roman Catholic Church closed the door to the Year of Divine Mercy on the Feast of Christ the King of the Universe. The 2016 Jubilee was first announced by Pope Francis I on March, 13 2015. It was declared in the Pope’s April 2015 papal bull of indiction, Misericordiae Vultus (Latin: “The Face of Mercy”). It is the 27th holy year in history, following the ordinary 2000 Jubilee during St. John Paul II’s papacy. Pope Francis I called for the start of the Year of Mercy on December 8, 2015 on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, he stated that it is supposed  to be a year where all Christians have mercy on one another, show respect and work hard to accomplish what they want using Church scripture. In the Biblical Book of Leviticus, a Jubilee year is mentioned to occur every fiftieth year, in which slaves and prisoners would be freed, debts would be forgiven and the mercies of God would be particularly manifest. The Holy Bible states,

 

Count off seven Sabbath years—seven times seven years—so that the seven Sabbath years amount to a period of forty-nine years. Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land.  Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan. The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields.

In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to their own property.

-Leviticus 25:8-13

 

Pope Francis I concluded the Year of Mercy with the  Pontifical council members for the New Evangelization, which was directed by Archbishop Rino Fisichella in the Vatican of St. Peter’s Basilica.

 

Pope Francis I described at the Year of Mercy at the closing ceremony as “a simple intuition,” stating it as a celebration, not just Catholic Christians, but all other sects of Protestant Christians. The opening of the holy doors of Mercy in many churches, cathedrals and shrines gave people an opportunity to freely experience God’s light and strength in their lives. The “Holy Door” is the northernmost entrance at Vatican of St. Peter’s Basilica. The Holy Door is normally cemented shut and only opened for Jubilee Years. Rear of the Holy Door, inside contained are several medals, canonical documents bearing the Pontificate of a Pope marking the last time it has been opened. Many people today, say that they feel strength and courage after walking through the Holy Door of the Year of Mercy. Pope Francis I stated that mercy becomes permanent for all Christians, whether they are Catholic or Protestant.

 

During the closing ceremony of the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis I gave thanks to all of the Vatican Councils, the Vatican Police and Military, and all of those organization who helped to promote the Year of Mercy in the Roman Catholic Church. According to Sarah Ruggles (10), “the Year of Jubilee sounds like its somethings huge, I’ve never really ever thought was it actually is, but its so cool. I think this Year of Mercy give me strength because I got really good at math and closer to my friends.”