Mangaluru, Dec 14, 2015 : Rt Rev Aloysius Paul D’Souza, Bishop of Mangaluru, inaugurated the Jubilee Year of Mercy 2015-16 at the Rosario Cathedral Church in the morning and Immaculate Conception Church, Urwa in the evening on Dec 13, Sunday.
Before inauguration, Bishop read out the message of Pope Francis to the gathering. He inaugurated the jubilee year of mercy by opening the Holy Door of Rosario Cathedral. Later, all the people who had gathered at the church premises entered through the Holy Door for the Sunday mass. In his homily, the Bishop asked Christian brethren to be merciful to all.
Recalling the message of Pope Francis on the Jubilee year of Mercy, he said, "To pass through the Holy Door means to rediscover the infinite mercy of the Father who welcomes everyone and goes out personally to encounter each of them". He also said that the Jubilee Year is dedicated to living our daily lives with "the mercy that the Father constantly extends to all of us".
On the occasion, Bishop released the handbook of ’Living The Jubilee Year of Mercy’ and the prayer leaflets. Similar celebrations were held in Churches across Mangaluru and Udupi diocese.
Recap of Vatican ceremony :
On a cloudy, damp morning, Pope Francis’ voice echoed in the atrium of St. Peter’s Basilica: "Open the gates of justice." With five strong thrusts, the pope pushed open the Holy Door, a symbol of God’s justice, which he said will always be exercised "in the light of his mercy."
The rite of the opening of the Holy Door was preceded by a Mass with 70,000 pilgrims packed in St. Peter’s Square Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception and the beginning of the extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy.
As the sun broke through the clouds, heralding the start of the jubilee year, the pope bowed his head and remained still for several minutes in silent prayer.
Amid a crowd of dignitaries and pilgrims, a familiar face was also present at the historic event: retired Pope Benedict XVI, who followed Pope Francis through the Holy Door into St. Peter’s Basilica.
During his homily, Pope Francis emphasized the "simple, yet highly symbolic" act of opening the Holy Door, which "highlights the primacy of grace;" the same grace that made Mary "worthy of becoming the mother of Christ."
"The fullness of grace can transform the human heart and enable it to do something so great as to change the course of human history," he said.
The Year of Mercy, the pope stressed, is a gift of grace that allows Christians to experience the joy of encountering the transforming power of grace and rediscovering God’s infinite mercy toward sinners.
"How much wrong we do to God and his grace when we speak of sins being punished by his judgment before we speak of their being forgiven by his mercy," he said.
"We have to put mercy before judgment, and in any event God’s judgment will always be in the light of his mercy. In passing through the Holy Door, then, may we feel that we ourselves are part of this mystery of love."
Fifty years ago, he said, the church celebrated the "opening of another door," with the Second Vatican Council urging the church to come out from self-enclosure and "set out once again with enthusiasm on her missionary journey." The council closed Dec. 8, 1965.