Living the Year of Mercy: resources and activities

YearofMercyOur Holy Father, Pope Francis, has announced an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy from Dec. 8, 2015 to Nov. 20, 2016. The Archdiocese of Dubuque has a number of resources and opportunities to help you experience and share God’s mercy during this Jubilee Year.

Visit the Year of Mercy section on the arch­diocesan website ( to access: (1) an Instructional document from Archbishop Jackels, (2) information about special liturgies during the year, (3) Cathedral pilgrimage opportunities, (4) works of mercy service project details, (5) activities & media for families, youth & adults and (6) prayer & music resources.

1) Archbishop Jackels’ Instruction (Pages 8-9 of this issue) offers: an explanation of mercy, a simple analogy that weaves together the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the often-misunderstood concept of indulgences, and concrete examples of how to receive God’s mercy, and how to show mercy to others.

2) The Year of Mercy will also include special liturgies at the Cathedral of St. Raphael in Dubuque. The archdiocese begins the Year of Mercy with an Opening Liturgy on Dec. 13, 2015 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. On Apr. 3, Divine Mercy Sunday, a Holy Hour starting at 3 p.m. will be followed by confessions, with Mass celebrated at 5:30 p.m. The Archdiocese will conclude the year with a Closing Mass on the Feast of Christ the King on Sunday, Nov. 20 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Cathedral.

3) As instructed by Pope Francis, the Cathedral will be a place of pilgrimage during the holy year with a designated “Door of Mercy” through which, according to the Holy Father, “anyone who enters is to experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instills hope.” When the global Catholic Church celebrates the beginning of the Year of Mercy on Dec. 8, Pope Francis will open the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica. Usually this door is sealed and only opened at the beginning of a jubilee year. He has encouraged dioceses throughout the world to designate a similar door to be opened at a site “frequented by groups of pilgrims since these holy sites are so often grace-filled moments, as people discover a path to conversion.” Through establishing such a door locally, the archdiocese provides a pilgrimage opportunity for these grace-filled moments and creates a visible sign of the Church’s universal communion.

4) Additionally, all parishes have recently been asked to participate in an archdiocesan-wide witness of mercy by serving those in need. Seven weeks throughout 2016 have been designated as “Work Weeks” in which parishes perform a specific Corporal Work of Mercy for those in need. Parishes will choose how to implement each work of mercy in a manner that meets the unique needs of their broader community while performing the works in solidarity with one another. Each parish is also asked to identify one Corporal Work of Mercy to perform throughout the year.

5) Families, Youth and Adults will find activities and media that assist with celebrating the Year of Mercy under 13 differ­ent themes including “Jesus – Face of the Father’s Mercy,” “The Church: Trustee and Dispenser,” “The Communion of Saints: They Have Eyes of Mercy, Too!” and “Mary, Mother of Mercy.” Each resource is cross-referenced to a corresponding section of Pope Francis’ document Misericordiae Vultus (translation: The Face of Mercy.)

6) The section titled Prayer & Music Resources includes details about liturgical celebrations throughout the year, scripture for meditation and devotional prayer information.


This story is provided courtesy of The Witness, the official publication of the Archdiocese of Dubuque.