On December 8th Pope Francis officially inaugurated the Jubilee Holy Year of Mercy. Normally, the jubilee year is every 50 years but the Holy Father has proclaimed an Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy. The year officially began when he opened the Holy Door in St. Peter’s Basilica. Over 3 million people will walk through the Holy Door this Jubilee Year. Walking through the Holy Door symbolizes a new beginning, a deeper step into mercy.
I stumbled upon a very powerful definition of mercy, one that really describes the ministry of Catholic Charities. A Jesuit named James Keenan defines mercy as “the willingness to enter into the chaos of another person’s life” That is what happens in all of our agencies every day . We, at Catholic Charities, are a “mercy machine”!
Pope Francis showed us the way. The Friday after he opened the Holy Door he went to an homeless hostel and opened the “Holy Door of Charity”. May we continue to open holy doors of charity for all those in need.
Have a Blessed Holy Year of Mercy,
Monsignor John A. Schuler
Director of Mission Integration, Catholic Charities of St. Louis
Senior Associate Pastor, Incarnate Word