On Sunday, December 13th, 2015, Catholic Bishops in the United States opened the doors of their cathedrals, as symbolic Doors of Mercy in accordance with the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, established by Pope Francis for the year of 2016.

The Pope proclaimed this year, “Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy.  These words might well sum up the mystery of the Christian faith. Mercy has become living and visible in Jesus of Nazareth, reaching its culmination in Him.”

Bishop Barbarito of the Diocese of Palm Beach suggested, “The Jubilee of Mercy offers us, in the Diocese of Palm Beach, an opportunity to join with the Universal Church in celebrating God’s mercy in our lives and in sharing that mercy with each other in a concrete manner.  It truly is meant to be a special year of grace.”

Pope Francis reminds us, “In mercy, we find proof of how God loves us. He gives His entire self, always, freely, asking nothing in return.  He comes to our aid whenever we call upon Him.”

Eencouraging mercy towards family members, Bishop Barbarito hopes partitioners will extend this demonstration of mercy to families, “I am asking that another simple designation of a door be made in every home of every individual and family during this Jubilee of Mercy.  Your designation of this door will be a reminder of the Jubilee of Mercy and a simple prayer, such as the Holy Father’s, printed below, can be placed upon it and prayed as families gather at the door.  This would be a simple reminder that God dwells among us and His mercy never departs from us.  It is especially fitting to share this mercy with each other in our homes.  May this household door remind us during the Jubilee of Mercy that we must open the most intimate door of our hearts to the love and mercy of God always present within us.”

Extending mercy and God’s love to the world, Pope Francis prays for the faithful, “I present, therefore, this Extraordinary Jubilee Year dedicated to living out in our daily lives the mercy which the Father constantly extends to all of us.  In this Jubilee year, let us allow God to surprise us. He never tires of casting open the doors of His heart and of repeating that He loves us and wants to share His love with us. The Church feels the urgent need to proclaim God’s mercy. Her life is authentic only which she becomes a convincing herald of mercy.  She knows that her primary task, especially in a moment full of great hopes and signs of contradiction, is to introduce everyone to the great mystery of God’s mercy by contemplating the face of Christ. The Church is called above all to be credible witness to mercy, professing it and living it as the core of the revelation of Jesus Christ.  From the heart of the Trinity, from the depths of the mystery of God, the great river of mercy wells up and overflows unceasingly. It is a spring that will never run dry, no matter how many people draw from it. Every time someone is in need, he or she could approach it, because the mercy of God never ends.  The profundity of the mystery surrounding it is as inexhaustible as the richness which springs up from it.”