What is the Year of Mercy?
Pope Francis has long made mercy one of the primary focuses of his papacy.
Because he has sought to reach those in the fold as well as those on the periphery, the pope declared that the Jubilee of Mercy will begin on December 8, 2015 (the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary) and conclude on November 20, 2016 (the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe).
It’s a special, holy year which will focus on the breadth of God’s mercy and forgiveness.
A Message from Pope Francis
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I have often thought of how the Church may render her mission to be a witness to mercy; and we have to make this journey. It is a journey which begins with spiritual conversion.
Therefore, I have decided to announce an Extraordinary Jubilee which has at its center the mercy of God. It will be a Holy Year of Mercy.
This Holy Year will commence on the next Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and will conclude on Sunday, 20 November 2016, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
I am confident that the whole Church, which is in such need of mercy for we are sinners, will be able to find in this Jubilee the joy of rediscovering and rendering fruitful God’s mercy, with which we are all called to give comfort to every man and every woman of our time. Do not forget that God forgives all, and God forgives always.
Let us never tire of asking forgiveness. Let us henceforth entrust this Year to the Mother of Mercy, that she turn her gaze upon us and watch over our journey: our penitential journey, our year-long journey with an open heart, to receive the indulgence of God, to receive the mercy of God.
USCCB Year of Mercy Webpage (lots of resources here)