Pope Francis inaugurates holy year of mercy; locals celebrate

As proclaimed by Pope Francis, Catholics are observing a jubilee year, devoted to the theme of mercy.
News Ten’s Blue Rolfes has more on what the holy year of mercy means and how local churches are celebrating it.

The theme of mercy has always been close to Pope Francis’ heart and is often reflected in his homilies and writings.
The extraordinary jubilee, also called a holy year, opened this past December eighth, on the solemnity of the immaculate conception, and will close on November twentieth of this year with the solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Just this past Sunday, the Pope appealed for a worldwide ban on the death penalty during the year of mercy.

Father Michael Russo, pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic church in Lafayette, says the papal practice of declaring a jubilee year dates back to the days of the old testament.

Father Russo: “Pope Francis is extenuating this by asking us to make pilgrimages and to forgive one another, to increase our acts of mercy, to sort of get our lives back in order to imitate the mercy of god.”

Father Russo say the church outlines fourteen specific acts of mercy for us to fully embrace the holy year of mercy in our daily lives.
The seven corporal works of mercy are:
Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick and the imprisoned, and bury the dead.

The seven spiritual works of mercy are:
Counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the afflicted, forgive offenses, bear wrongs
patiently and pray for the living and the dead.

While the holy year of mercy is being celebrated by catholics worldwide, Father Russo says those of all faiths can be involved.

Father Russo: “I would just encourage everyone to be merciful, and to try to find common denominators, instead of pointing out our differences, to realize that together, we can work, regardless of our creed, together we can work to make the world a better place for each other.”

Blue Rolfes, KLFY News Ten

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