The Year of Mercy

Carmel Bulletin, 13 December 2015

Year of MercyThe Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, which Pope Francis announced earlier this year, has now begun.  On Tuesday, Pope Francis opened the holy door at St Peter’s Basilica.

On Sunday evening (Sydney time), he will go to the cathedral church of the Diocese of Rome, the Basilica of St John Lateran, to open the holy door there.

This weekend will also see holy doors open at cathedrals around the world.  The central ceremonial doors at St Patrick’s Cathedral at Parramatta, usually closed and reserved for the most special of occasions, will be opened by Fr Peter Williams (Diocesan Administrator).  People will be able to pass through these doors any time from now until the Solemnity of Christ the King in November 2016.

The document (formally called a “bull of indiction”) through which Pope Francis officially called for this Year of Mercy helps to remind us of the boundless nature of God’s mercy, which we can celebrate and experience in a multitude of ways.  One way is through penance and reconciliation.

As we approach the season of Christmas, we remember that John the Baptist calls us, just as he called the people of his time, to repent and prepare a way for the Lord in our lives.  We will pray for, and celebrate the loving mercy of God at our Penitential Service on Wednesday evening.  I invite you to join us for this celebration, or to participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation next Saturday morning from 9:30 – 10:30 am.

Penitential-Service-2015-We

14/3/10 – Exploring the Sacrament of Penance

Today at Mass, we hear the parable of the Prodigal Son, or perhaps (depending on the perspective from which you approach this scripture passage) the Forgiving Father.

This parable, along with other readings we hear during this season in Year C, make connections with the Lenten theme of Penance and Reconciliation.

For many of us, different images and thoughts surface as we consider penance and reconciliation, particularly when we think of its sacramental celebration.  These impressions we have of penance and reconciliation are shaped by our experiences, which can be quite varied.

Both this Thursday and next, I invite you to come and learn more about how we as a Church celebrate forgiveness and reconciliation.  We will explore the history of the sacrament, the forms by which we celebrate the contemporary Rite of Penance, as well as other issues surrounding the celebration of the sacrament today.

This will be a time for reflection, exploration and discussion, and a time to consider further the penitential character of this season of Lent.

Exploring the Sacrament of Penance
Thursday 18 and 25 March
7:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Paul Knüppel Parish Centre