MIRI — About three thousand faithful packed St Joseph’s Cathedral on Sunday, 13 December to witness the opening of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.
As a sign of unity and charity, Bishop Richard said Pope Francis has called the entire Church to undertake a journey of spiritual conversion in order to re-discover the joy of having received mercy of God and re-commit ourselves to be witnesses to that mercy by giving comfort to every man and woman of our time.
The Holy Mass began at 7 pm with the ceremony of passing through the Holy Door which is symbolic of entering the house of God into his arms of mercy.
“As we pass through the Holy Door, as a sign of our penitential journey let us do so with an open heart to receive the patience and indulgence of God, to receive the mercy of God and let us do so in company with the Saints, asking them to assist us on this journey of conversion,” said Bishop Richard.
After the Litany of Saints the Holy Door was opened by Bishop Richard who said, “As we enter focus on the love and compassion of Jesus for each one of us and in turn let us be agents of mercy”.
Led by the Bishop, the priests followed by the congregation entered the church through the Holy Door while the choir sang the official hymn “Misericordes sicut Pater” (Merciful Like the Father) in Latin.
Presiding at the Mass with eight priests concelebrating, Bishop Richard during his homily related the beautiful connection between the message of joy found in the third Sunday of Advent and the historical occasion as “joy is a product of God’s mercy”.
During the Extraordinary Holy Year from 8 December 2015 to 20 November 2016 the faithful were encouraged to live out the theme “Merciful like the Father” by being agents of God’s mercy after experiencing his mercy, reaching out especially to those on the fringes of the society. To this effect the Church has provided guidelines to help her faithful show the face of the merciful Father by taking up the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
In addition, the laity could make a pilgrimage to the Pilgrimage Centre at St Dominic and The Rosary Church in Taman Tunku, go for confession and pass through the Holy Door of Mercy to obtain the Jubilee Indulgence.
“In the months to come there are programmes organised to help us benefit from and experience God’s mercy for us and for one another,” added Bishop Richard. These include ‘24 Hours for the Lord’ in March, retreat, healing Mass, Diocesan Day in October and the closure of Holy Year on 20 November on the Feast of Christ the King.
“Rejoice and be grateful for the opportunity to be part of this Jubilee Year of God’s Mercy,” said Bishop Richard who urged all present to make full use of this opportunity to experience God’s mercy and love and be agents of mercy.
Today’s Catholic Vol.27 No.9 January 2016