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How to live the Mercy Year

Archbishop Samuel Aquila is making sure the Year of Mercy reaches the four corners of the archdiocese by designating five Holy Doors and leading four penance services throughout northern Colorado.

“Pope Francis called for this Year of Mercy, and we are responding by making the graces of the year as available as possible to the faithful of the archdiocese,” the archbishop told Denver Catholic. “It is my hope that the Catholics of this archdiocese, and those visiting, are able to have an authentic experience of the abundant mercy of Our Lord.”

Return to grace

Pope Francis wrote in his letter on the Year of Mercy that he desired it to be “an extraordinary moment of grace and spiritual renewal.” He also placed a particular emphasis on the sacrament of confession, urging all to “place the sacrament of reconciliation at the center once more,” and thus rediscover “a path back to the Lord.”

To that end, Archbishop Aquila will offer four Receive Mercy Penance Services throughout the year. The first is set for Dec. 9 at Christ the King Parish in Denver, from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. (See schedule for other times and locations).

The Jubilee Indulgence

An essential part of every Jubilee Year is the Jubilee Indulgence.

The indulgence, writes Pope Francis, frees the pardoned sinner “from every residue left by the consequences of sin, enabling him to act with charity, to grow in love rather to fall back into sin.”

To gain an indulgence you have to complete a “work” and fulfill several conditions.

There are four “works” one can perform to gain the Jubilee Indulgence: pass through a Holy Door; complete a spiritual or corporal work of mercy; for the homebound, live with “faith and joyful hope” in your moments of trial; and for the incarcerated, an indulgence can be gained by “directing their thought and prayer to the Father each time they cross the threshold of their cell.”

The conditions to gain the indulgence include being in the state of grace, having the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin, receive the sacraments of confession and the Holy Eucharist, make a profession of faith, and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father.

Except for being in the state of grace and the interior disposition of detachment from sin, all of the conditions may be fulfilled within 20 days of doing the “work”. One indulgence can be gained each day, and indulgences can be obtained for the deceased.

Five Holy Doors

The Holy Door has been a key component of Jubilee Years since the 15th century. Pope Francis described the act of passing through the Holy Door as “a sign of the deep desire for true conversion.”

Normally, one would have to travel to Rome to pass through a Holy Door, but Pope Francis has given local bishops the ability to designate several Holy Doors in their dioceses.

Year of Mercy postcard full
A special postcard will be available at all Holy Door locations to collect uniquely-designed stamps. Collect them all and submit your postcard for a chance to win a Year of Mercy icon.

Archbishop Samuel Aquila has designated a total of five Holy Doors throughout northern Colorado: the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, St. Stephen Protomartyr in Glenwood Springs, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Denver, St. Anthony’s in Sterling and the Mother Cabrini Shrine in Golden.

All of the Holy Doors will be opened Dec. 13. “On that day,” Pope Francis wrote, “the Holy Door will become a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instills hope.”

As a special feature of the Holy Year, the archdiocese is making special postcards available at each location, along with uniquely-designed stamps. Anyone who visits all five Holy Doors can submit a copy of the completed postcard for a chance to win a Jubilee Year of Mercy icon.

 Mercy Chose Me 

An archdiocesan-wide conference titled Mercy Chose Me, on how to live the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, will be held Jan. 23 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Northglenn.

The event will feature a talk by popular author and speaker Ted Sri, a panel on Julia Greeley–Denver’s “Angel of Charity”–and tips for living a spirituality of mercy.

For more information on how to live the Year of Mercy, visit archden.org/mercy.

Aaron Lambert
Aaron is the Managing Editor for the Denver Catholic.
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