Pope Francis announces surprise Holy Year

(AGI) Vatican City, March 13 - Pope Francis declared on Fridayan "Extraordinary Jubilee that has the mercy of God at itscentre". "It will be a Holy Year of Mercy," he stated. TheJubilee will begin on Dec 8, the Solemnity of the ImmaculateConception, and end on Nov 20, 2016, the Sunday of theSolemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. PopeFrancis made the announcement during his penitential liturgy atSt. Peter's, on the second anniversary of his election. Thenext Holy Year will also coincide with the 50th anniversary ofthe closing of

(AGI) Vatican City, March 13 - Pope Francis declared on Fridayan "Extraordinary Jubilee that has the mercy of God at itscentre". "It will be a Holy Year of Mercy," he stated. TheJubilee will begin on Dec 8, the Solemnity of the ImmaculateConception, and end on Nov 20, 2016, the Sunday of theSolemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. PopeFrancis made the announcement during his penitential liturgy atSt. Peter's, on the second anniversary of his election. Thenext Holy Year will also coincide with the 50th anniversary ofthe closing of the Second Vatican Council in 1965, giving itspecial meaning, "for it impels the Church to continue the workbegun at Vatican II". His Holiness stated that the Jubilee'sorganisation has been entrusted to the Pontifical Council forthe New Evangelisation, which is presided over by MonsignorRino Fisichella. Pope Francis also confided in his Fridaygathering, many of them young people, that in recent months hehas often asked himself how the Church can make more evidentits mission of being a witness to mercy. He urged them to liveaccording to the word of the Lord, and cited a Gospel passage:"Be merciful as your Father is merciful". The Holy Year will bea new step in the Church's mission to spread the Gospel ofMercy, he said. "In this Jubilee, the whole Church will be ableto find the joy of rediscovering and making fruitful the mercyof God, with which we are all called to give consolation toevery man and woman of our time," he affirmed. "This isespecially true for confessors: let us not forget that Godforgives all and forgives always. We entrust the Holy Year ofMercy to Mary, Mother of Mercy, so that she may watch over usand our path." (AGI). .