Since Pope Francis declared the Jubilee Year of Mercy which opened on December 8, 2015, around the world religious communities have been making this year truly extraordinary. Here are just a few of the ways men and women in consecrated life have been expressing the merciful dimension of God during this year:
- Religious communities have been using their websites and social media to communicate and convey the Christian concept of mercy. Facebook pages of religious congregations have carried inspirational messages and have suggested concrete actions to express and offer mercy.
- Religious congregations are hosting retreats, special days of prayer and reflections, and book discussions on the theme of mercy.
- Educational institutions sponsored by religious communities are discussing mercy, praying about it in classrooms and in chapels, and spearheading special works of mercy service projects.
- Many religious order priests have become “missionaries of mercy,” priests specially appointed by Pope Francis to be responsible for preaching, teaching and practicing mercy.
- Religious communities have ritually opened “holy doors of mercy” in their own chapels, shrines and holy places.
Pope Francis has encouraged all Catholics – ordained, religious and lay – to make a pilgrimage to a designated church or shrine to visit a “holy door of mercy” to better experience God’s mercy through the symbolism of crossing a threshold. There is still time – the Jubilee Year of Mercy will conclude on November 20, 2016. Holy Doors of Mercy have been designated at St. Frances X. Cabrini Shrine in New York City, Mother Cabrini Shrine in Golden, CO, and the National Shrine of St. Frances X. Cabrini in Chicago. ~ excerpts from VISION Vocation Guide