Author: Peter Yaremko

The Jubilee Year of Mercy opened on December 8, the fiftieth anniversary of the closing of Second Vatican Council. On this date also the Roman Catholic Church marks the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. In the Eastern Church we celebrate the feast of the the Conception of St. Anna, one day later, on December 9. This liturgical feast day recalls God’s actions of mercy from the very beginning of humankind. This is why Pope St John XXIII opened the Council with the words: “Now the Bride of Christ wishes to use the medicine of mercy …”

After Adam and Eve’s sin of disobedience, God did not wish to leave humanity abandoned to the throes of evil. So he turned his merciful gaze to Mary, choosing her to be the mother of our redeemer.

Here, then, is the reason Pope Francis chose to open the Jubilee on December 8. Because on this day the Church remembers the moment God the Father poured out His mercy on humanity, through Mary.

On this day we say with Mary, “May it be done to me according to Your word.”

During this Jubilee Year, the Church makes clear its mission of being a witness to mercy. It is a journey that begins with a spiritual conversion—and ends on November 20, 2016, the Sunday dedicated to Jesus, King of the Universe and the living face of the Father’s mercy.

Our prayer today: Mary, Mother of Mercy, turn your gaze toward us and watch over our year-long penitential journey to receive the mercy of your Son.