Jubilee Year of Mercy starts today

Kristine B. Quintas/FPL (The Freeman) - December 7, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Today marks the beginning of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

Pope Francis declared an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy beginning and ending on two great and solemn feasts of the Catholic Church: December 8 this year to November 20, 2016, the Feasts of the Immaculate Conception and Christ the King, respectively.

In line with this, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma together with the Cebu bishops and priests, will open the doors of the Cebu Cathedral on Sunday, December 13 at 8 a.m. to symbolize the beginning of the archdiocese’s observance of the Jubilee of Mercy.

Palma said the opening is a strong call for conversion and repentance, and the offer of special opportunities to experience God’s grace through the sacraments, especially Confession.

“The Jubilee Year of Mercy is a special year of favor. This is a year when we should try to make people experience the mercy of God. It’s an admission that we need God’s mercy,” Palma said.

The rite of the opening of the Holy Door is intended to symbolically illustrate the idea that the Church’s faithful are offered an extraordinary path toward salvation during the time of jubilee.

A mass will be celebrated right after the opening.

The holy door is normally sealed from the inside so that they cannot be opened. The doors are only opened during jubilee years so that pilgrims can enter through it in order to gain the plenary indulgence or complete remission of all temporal punishments due to sins.

The holy door located at the left side of Cebu Cathedral was briefly opened during the 75th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Cebu in April 2009 and during the jubilee celebration in 2000.

But, believers will have another opportunity to enter the door of mercy or holy door, including other designated jubilee churches in Cebu— the Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Catherine of Alexandria in Carcar City, Archdiocesan Shrine of San Vicente Ferrer in Bogo City, Saints Peter and Paul Parish in Bantayan Island, and St. Joseph Parish in San Francisco, Camotes Island.

The jubilee door at the Cathedral is open in daytime when masses are held. It closes after the 7 p.m. mass, according to Monsignor Ruben Labajo of Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.

However, only those who have fulfilled the requirements will be able to enter the door of mercy and gain the plenary indulgence. Labajo said a person must first submit himself/herself to the commandment of confession before entering the holy door.

The person must pray I Believe in God, one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be for the Pope’s intentions. Afterward, he/she must attend a mass and take communion.

Once all of these are fulfilled the person will receive the plenary indulgence.

“…matag sala atong mahimo naa gyod na tugbang nga silot. When you go to confession mapapas ang sala but magpabilin ang silot. Ang makapapas sa silot ang indulensya. Every good work that you will do it has an equivalent of partial indulgence, however plenary indulgence makapapas sa tanang sala,” Labajo said.

It can be recalled that Pope Francis has granted every priest the discretion to absolve women for having abortions. Catholic Church dogma considers terminating a pregnancy a heinous sin, and it is normally punishable by excommunication.

The pope also said sick people and the elderly, who are confined at home and the hospitals, can still access the jubilee indulgence by receiving communion or attending Holy Mass and community prayer, even through the various means of communication. Prisoners, on the other hand, can obtain the indulgence in the chapels of their prisons.

The pope added that one can also offer the jubilee indulgence for the deceased so they will be freed of every remnant of fault and share in God’s glory in heaven.

The Extraordinary Jubilee, a Holy Year of Mercy, will highlight the Catholic Church’s “mission to be a witness of mercy” with the year’s biblical theme “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (FREEMAN)

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