VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Celebrating the first vespers for Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope Francis formally will deliver the “bull of indiction” or proclamation of the extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy.
Portions of the document will be read in front of the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica April 11, the Vatican announced. The Holy Door, usually bricked up, is opened at the beginning of a jubilee year.
The Holy Year of Mercy is scheduled for Dec. 8, 2015, to Nov. 20, 2016.
The other major basilicas of Rome also have Holy Doors that are opened for jubilee years. The papal document proclaiming the year of mercy will be read April 12 at the Basilica of St. John Lateran by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar for Rome; the Basilica of St. Mary Major by Cardinal Santos Abril Castello, archpriest of the basilica; and the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls by U.S. Cardinal James M. Harvey, archpriest of St. Paul’s.
During a Lenten penance service in March, Pope Francis announced his intention to proclaim the holy year as a way for the church to “make more evident its mission to be a witness of mercy.”
Holy Years usually are held every 25 years; the last was the great jubilee of the year 2000. Holy years feature special celebrations and pilgrimages, strong calls for conversion and repentance, and the offer of special opportunities to experience God’s grace through the sacraments, especially confession.
Extraordinary holy years, like the Holy Year of Mercy, are less frequent, but offer the same opportunities for spiritual growth.
Announcing the publication of the papal bull, the Vatican press office also explained how formal papal documents came to have that name: “The term bull — from the Latin ‘bulla’ meaning ‘bubble’ or, more generally, a rounded object — originally indicated the metal capsule used to protect the wax seal attached with a cord to a document of particular importance to attest to its authenticity and, as a consequence, its authority.
“Over time, the term began to be used first to indicate the seal, then the document itself, so that nowadays it is used for all papal documents of special importance that bear, or at least traditionally would have borne, the pontiff’s seal,” the statement said.
The papal bull for a holy year, it said, indicates its opening and closing dates and “main ways in which it will be implemented.” It is considered the primary document for understanding “the intentions and the outcomes hoped for by the pontiff.”
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103