Jubilee Year of Mercy approaches its end Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Brent King, For the Catholic Herald   
Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016 -- 12:00 AM
holy door
A Holy Door is located at St. Patrick Church, 404 E. Main St., Madison. Another Holy Door is located at Holy Redeemer Church, 120 W. Johnson St., Madison. Both churches are part of the Cathedral Parish. For more information on Mass and Confession schedule, go to A Holy Door is also found at the Schoenstatt Founder Shrine, 5901 Cottage Grove Rd. in Madison, which is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.  (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

MADISON — Led by our Holy Father, Pope Francis, Catholics around the world have had a great opportunity to make contemplating and celebrating the Mercy of God a daily part of our lives through our observance of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

Here in the Diocese of Madison, we adopted the theme, “Contemplating the Face of God’s Mercy.”

Many of us may read this and wonder, “What does this mean for me and what does this mean for my church/our diocese?”

These are good questions to be asking, especially as we consider how to continue to respond to God’s mercy once the Jubilee Year concludes on November 20.

We should keep asking ourselves those questions, and now is the perfect time to reflect on our own, as well as our collective, participation in this Jubilee Year.

Where we’ve been

Whether alone, with our families, or with the larger community, we always start every faithful effort with sincere prayer — through study, meditation, and more formal worship — especially in placing ourselves in our Lord’s very presence at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and in Eucharistic Adoration.

Sincere and humble contemplation upon the face of God’s mercy will always lead us to the continual conversion we each need, and this conversion leads us to seek God’s mercy eagerly through the Sacrament of Penance and through living out the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy more frequently and more perfectly.

As the year comes to a conclusion, you might ask yourself: Have I taken the opportunity to earnestly do this throughout the year? And, can I do better?

Last December, the Year of Mercy began with the opening of Holy Doors, first in Rome and then in every diocese in the world.

This weekend, November 13, those doors will begin to be closed, and the Holy Father will close the Holy Doors at St. Peter’s Basilica next week — concluding the Year of Mercy.

This formal and very literal closing of the year begs each of us to answer the question: How have I done? Have I truly contemplated God’s Divine Mercy? Have I been open to the conversion made possible through God’s mercy in the sacraments?

Have I passed through our local Holy Doors, making the resolve to sin no more? And have I made both the Corporal as well as the Spiritual Works of Mercy a more habitual part of my life?

Where we are now

If you find that your living out the Year of Mercy has been deficient in any way — and none of us is alone if this is the case — it is certainly not too late!

Thank God! Our priests are still in the confessional and the Holy Doors are still open, inviting us to and through them. We can all recommit ourselves to the conversion and Works of Mercy we were called to at the beginning of this year.

In charity, we can all take the opportunity to invite our friends and loved ones to this conversion as well — again and again if necessary. This in itself is a great Work of Mercy to close the year. It is not always easy, but the Lord gives us the grace to do this, no matter how challenging.

Where we are going

As a diocese, we have been given a challenge as well. Pope Francis invited us earlier this year, on the eve of the Solemnity of Divine Mercy, with the challenge of “how beautiful it would be to have as a reminder, a ‘memorial’ as it were, in every diocese during this Year of Mercy, an institutional expression of mercy . . .”

Bishop Robert C. Morlino heard the pope clearly, took this to heart, and prayerfully looked for a way to answer the Holy Father’s appeal for a long-lasting diocesan memorial to the Year of Mercy.

God’s providence always provides, and with the timely receipt of two sizable bequests close to the official canonization date of Mother Teresa of Kolkata, Bishop Morlino was inspired to establish a fund in our newest saint’s name and to place the initial $500,000 into that fund.

Working with the Catholic Diocese of Madison Foundation, the Saint Mother Teresa Mercy Endowment Fund has now been formally established, offering us all a way to permanently commemorate this Year of Mercy.

In choosing to give to this effort, our gifts will help grow the endowment fund to make the Works of Mercy (both Corporal and Spiritual) more available to many in our diocese.

Our first opportunity to give to this fund is upon us now. Included in this week’s Catholic Herald is an envelope that can be used to make a donation to this new and essential fund, prompted by the Year of Mercy and our diocesan response to the Holy Father’s plea for a more permanent expression of mercy.

Please consider a gift to the Saint Mother Teresa Mercy Endowment Fund.

We have everything we need right before us to make the conclusion of this Jubilee Year of Mercy a success, both for ourselves spiritually and hopefully for generations to come.

Let’s each rise to the challenges presented to us by Pope Francis and Bishop Morlino and become holier as the Year of Mercy concludes, availing ourselves of the many graces offered us, and allowing our outward works to testify to our inward disposition, focused more and more on God.

Brent King is director of communications for the Diocese of Madison.


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