Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy
The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy (Latin: Iubilaeum Extraordinarium Misericordiae) is a Roman Catholic period of prayer held from the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8), 2015, to the Feast of Christ the King (November 20), 2016. Like previous jubilees, it is seen by the Church as a period for remission of sins and universal pardon focusing particularly on God's forgiveness and mercy. It is an extraordinary Jubilee because it had not been predetermined long before; usually ordinary jubilees take place every 25 years. The 2016 Jubilee was first announced by Pope Francis on March 13, 2015. It was declared in the pope's April 2015 papal bull of indiction, Misericordiae Vultus (Latin: "The Face of Mercy"). It is the 27th holy year in history, following the ordinary 2000 Jubilee during John Paul II's papacy. The opening day was also the fiftieth anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council.
In prior months it was stressed that the pontiff wishes the Jubilee to be celebrated not only in Rome but all around the world; for the first time holy doors are going to be opened in single dioceses, either in the main cathedral or in local historical churches. The first holy door was opened by Pope Francis in Bangui on November 29, 2015, during a tour of East Africa.
The Jubilee of Mercy was formally declared through the papal bull Misericordiæ Vultus, issued on April 11, 2015, which emphasizes the importance of mercy and the need to 'gaze' on it; the bull also recalls the need for the Church to be more open, keeping alive the spirit of the Second Vatican Council.
The holy doors of the major basilicas of Rome (including the Great Door of St. Peter's) were opened, and special 'Doors of Mercy' were opened at cathedrals and other major churches around the world. The opening of the holy door at St. Peter's was the first time two popes were present, as Pontiff Emeritus Benedict attended at Pope Francis' invitation.
By passing through the holy doors, the faithful can earn indulgences after fulfilling the usual conditions of prayer for the pope's intentions, confession, and detachment from sin, and communion. During Lent of that year, special 24-hour penance services will be celebrated, and during the year, special qualified and experienced priests called 'Missionaries of Mercy' will be available in every diocese to forgive even severe, special-case sins normally reserved to the Holy See's Apostolic Penitentiary.
In the bull, Pope Francis states about the opening of the holy door, "the Holy Door will become a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instils hope".
It was announced that all priests (during the Jubilee year – ending November 20, 2016), will be allowed in the Sacrament of Penance to grant absolution for abortion, which outside North America is reserved to bishops and certain priests who are given such mandate by their bishop.
By the same letter, Pope Francis also granted permission for priests of the Society of Saint Pius X to validly confer absolution, while under normal circumstances they do not possess the jurisdiction needed to confer this sacrament.
Logo and hymn
The official logo, designed by Father Marko I. Rupnik, shows Jesus, personification of Mercy, carrying on his shoulders a "lost man", emphasizing how deep the Savior touches humanity; his eyes are merged with those of the carried man. The background is filled by three concentric ovals, with lighter colors outwards, meaning that Jesus is carrying the man out of the darkness of sin. On one side the image is also joined by the official motto: Misericordes Sicut Pater (Merciful Like the Father), derived from Luke 6:36, which stands as an invitation to follow the example of the Father by loving and forgiving without limits.
The official hymn, with most verses derived from the Gospels, First Corinthians and Psalms, was written by Eugenio Costa, S.J., with original music composed by Paul Inwood.
The following main events and days of celebration for specific categories of faithfuls are scheduled:
- November 29, 2015: opening of a holy door in Bangui's Notre-Dame Cathedral
- December 8, 2015: opening of the holy door in St. Peter's Basilica
- December 13, 2015: opening of the holy door in the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, and in many cathedrals around the world
- January 1, 2016: opening of the holy door in the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
- January 19–21, 2016: Jubilee for the pilgrims
- February 2, 2016: Jubilee for consecrated lives, closing of the "Year for Consecrated Life"
- February 22, 2016: Jubilee for the Roman Curia
- March 4–5, 2016: penitential liturgy and call for "24 Hours for the Lord"
- March 20, 2016: Palm Sunday
- April 3, 2016: Jubilee for all those who find themselves in the spirituality of mercy
- April 24, 2016: Jubilee for newly confirmed aged 13–16 (to older young people is dedicated the World Youth Day in July)
- May 27–29, 2016: Jubilee for deacons
- June 3, 2016: Jubilee for priests
- June 12, 2016: Jubilee for diseased people and those who assist them
- July 26–31, 2016: Jubilee for young people and World Youth Day 2016 in Kraków, Poland
- September 4, 2016: Jubilee for volunteers
- September 25, 2016: Jubilee for catechists
- October 8–9, 2016: Marian Jubilee
- November 6, 2016: Jubilee for prisoners; some prisoners will attend celebrations in St. Peter's Basilica
- November 13, 2016: closing of holy doors outside St. Peter's Basilica
- November 20, 2016: closing of the holy door in St. Peter's Basilica