Year of Mercy Logo
The logo and the motto together provide a fitting summary of what the Jubilee Year is all about. The motto Merciful Like the Father (taken from the Gospel of Luke, 6:36) serves as an invitation to follow the merciful example of the Father who asks us not to judge or condemn but to forgive and to give love and forgiveness without measure (cfr. Lk 6:37-38). The logo – the work of Jesuit Father Marko I. Rupnik – presents a small summa theologiae of the theme of mercy. In fact, it represents an image quite important to the early Church: that of the Son having taken upon his shoulders the lost soul demonstrating that it is the love of Christ that brings to completion the mystery of his incarnation culminating in redemption. The logo has been designed in such a way so as to express the profound way in which the Good Shepherd touches the flesh of humanity and does so with a love with the power to change one’s life. One particular feature worthy of note is that while the Good Shepherd, in his great mercy, takes humanity upon himself, his eyes are merged with those of man. Christ sees with the eyes of Adam, and Adam with the eyes of Christ. Every person discovers in Christ, the new Adam, one’s own humanity and the future that lies ahead, contemplating, in his gaze, the love of the Father.
The scene is captured within the so called mandorla (the shape of an almond), a figure quite important in early and medieval iconography, for it calls to mind the two natures of Christ, divine and human. The three concentric ovals, with colors progressively lighter as we move outward, suggest the movement of Christ who carries humanity out of the night of sin and death. Conversely, the depth of the darker color suggests the impenetrability of the love of the Father who forgives all.
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.
PRAYER FOR THE JUBILEE YEAR OF MERCY:
Lord Jesus Christ,
you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father,
and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him.
Show us your face and we will be saved.
Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money;
the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things;
made Peter weep after his betrayal,
and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.
Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman:
“If you knew the gift of God!”
You are the visible face of the invisible Father,
of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy:
let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.
You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness
in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error:
let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.
Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing,
so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord,
and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor,
proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed,
and restore sight to the blind.
We ask this through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy,
you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.