13 March 2015, in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis declared the celebration of an extraordinary Holy year. The Jubilee announcement was made during the homily of the penitential celebration with which he opened the “24 Hours for the Lord” initiative. This “Jubilee of Mercy” will commence with the opening of the Holy Door in the Vatican Basilica on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, 8 December, and will conclude on November 20, 2016 with the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. The papal Bull will be made public on Divine Mercy Sunday, 12 April, the Feast day instituted by St. John Paul II and celebrated on the Sunday after Easter.
Since 1475, the Church has celebrated a jubilee year every 25 years. Extraordinary jubilee years can be declared at any time by the pope, and are usually special anniversaries or commemorate special reasons to celebrate. This will be the 29th jubilee or “Holy” year in the history of the Church.
Jubilee years begin with an official declaration in front of the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica, one of four Holy Doors in Rome that are sealed from the inside except during Holy Years.
Pope Francis will make that declaration on Divine Mercy Sunday, the Sunday after Easter (March 29).
The beatification of Blessed John Paul II on the Feast of Divine Mercy, May 1, 2011 was announced by a decree which addressed the importance of the date chosen: “Since the beginning of his pontificate, in 1978, John Paul II often spoke in his homilies of the mercy of God. This became the theme of his second encyclical, Dives in Misericordia, in 1980. He was aware that modern culture and its language do not have a place for mercy, treating it as something strange; they try to inscribe everything in the categories of justice and law. But this does not suffice, for it is not what the reality of God is about.”
On October 5, 1938, a young religious by the name Sister Faustina (Helen Kowalska) died in a convent of the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Cracow, Poland. She came from a very poor family that had struggled hard on their little farm during the terrible years of WWI. Sister had had only three years of very simple education. Hers were the humblest of tasks in the convent, usually in the kitchen or the vegetable garden, or as a porter.
On February 22, 1931, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ appeared to this simple nun, bringing with Him a wonderful message of Mercy for all mankind. Saint Faustina tells us in her diary under this date:
“In the evening, when I was in my cell, I became aware of the Lord
Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand was raised in blessing,
the other was touching the garment at the breast. From the opening
of the garment at the breast there came forth two large rays, one
red and the other pale. In silence I gazed intently at the Lord;
my soul was overwhelmed with fear, but also with great joy. After
a while Jesus said to me, ‘paint an image according to the pattern
you see, with the inscription: Jesus, I trust in You.'”
Some time later, Our Lord again spoke to her:
“The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous;
the red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls. These
two rays issued forth from the depths of My most tender Mercy at
that time when My agonizing Heart was opened by a lance on the
Cross….Fortunate is the one who will dwell in their shelter, for
the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him.”
Read more: http://www.ewtn.com/Devotionals/mercy/stfaust.htm#ixzz3X3sew6qh
Biography of Saint (Sister)Faustyna Kowalska
Saint Faustina was born Helena Kowalska in a small village west of Lodz, Poland on August 25, 1905. She was the third of ten children. When she was almost twenty, she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, whose members devote themselves to the care and education of troubled young women. The following year she received her religious habit and was given the name Sister Maria Faustina, to which she added, “of the Most Blessed Sacrament”, as was permitted by her congregation’s custom. In the 1930’s, Sister Faustina received from the Lord a message of mercy that she was told to spread throughout the world. She was asked to become the apostle and secretary of God’s mercy, a model of how to be merciful to others, and an instrument for reemphasizing God’s plan of mercy for the world. It was not a glamorous prospect.
Her entire life, in imitation of Christ’s, was to be a sacrifice – a life lived for others. At the Divine Lord’s request, she willingly offered her personal sufferings in union with Him to atone for the sins of others; in her daily life she was to become a doer of mercy, bringing joy and peace to others, and by writing about God’s mercy, she was to encourage others to trust in Him and thus prepare the world for His coming again. Her special devotion to Mary Immaculate and to the sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation gave her the strength to bear all her sufferings as an offering to God on behalf of the Church and those in special need, especially great sinners and the dying.
She wrote and suffered in secret, with only her spiritual director and some of her superiors aware that anything special was taking place in her life. After her death from tuberculosis in 1938, even her closest associates were amazed as they began to discover what great sufferings and deep mystical experiences had been given to this Sister of theirs, who had always been so cheerful and humble. She had taken deeply into her heart, God’s gospel command to “be merciful even as your heavenly Father is merciful” as well as her confessor’s directive that she should act in such a way that everyone who came in contact with her would go away joyful. The message of mercy that Sister Faustina received is now being spread throughout the world; her diary, Divine Mercy in my Soul, has become the handbook for devotion to the Divine Mercy.
Because of faulty translations from the original Polish, St. Faustina Kowalska’s writings were considered doctrinally suspect, and so the Holy See suppressed the Divine Mercy devotion arising from those writings for about twenty years(from 1959-1978). Once the translations were corrected, the ban was lifted. The reversal of the suppression depended heavily upon the work of the Cardinal Archbishop of Krakow (Poland); the same year that the suppression was lifted (1978), that cardinal was elected pope and took the name John Paul II.
At 5.30 p.m.on , Saturday April 11, the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday, in St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pope will officially convoke the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy with the publication of the Bull of Indiction, “Misericordiae vultus.” The Jubilee Bull, aside from indicating the duration, opening and closing dates, and the main ways in which the Holy Year will unfold, constitutes the basic document for understanding the spirit in which it was convoked, as well as Pope Francis’ intentions and the fruit he hopes the Year will bear.
The Death of Saint(Pope)John Paul II on the Eve of Divine Mercy Sunday,From Joan’s Rome
“Thus, there is one week in April – April 2005 – that I will never forget, and perhaps even a few days before that during Holy Week when it did seem apparent that we would not have John Paul the Great with us for much longer.
Two days, two anniversaries, come starkly to the forefront of my memories each year. I will never, ever forget April 1, the vigil of John Paul’s death, and then the following day and night, the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday, a feast he instituted, when he died at 9:37 pm.
The vigil, if you will, probably began March 30th when rumors of the Pope’s demise that very day began to circulate. His last appearance at the window of his study was heartbreaking: John Paul could not speak because of the tracheotomy he had had and his frustration was evident – as was the quickly declining state of health to all who had eyes to see.”
Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska