April 1, 2016 - Cardinal Publishes Pastoral Letter for the Year of Mercy - God’s Mercy Runs to Meet Us*
Braintree, MA (April 1, 2016) – The Archdiocese of Boston announced today that Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, OFM Cap. is publishing a pastoral letter (God’s Mercy Runs to Meet Us) to guide the faithful during this Year of Mercy. Officially released for the Feast of Divine Mercy on Sunday April 3, Cardinal Seán will distribute the first printed copies of the Pastoral Letter in English, Spanish and Portuguese at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Saturday April 2 during a Year of Mercy multicultural procession entitled “Walking with Mary.”
The Cardinal opens his letter with the words: “Jesus is the face of the Father’s mercy and love.” He writes, “A Year of Mercy is a trial run to make God’s mercy visible in the world. To take care of each other, forgive each other, and help each other to practice the works of mercy with each other. Look at the Good Samaritan and look at his willingness to forgive and make sacrifices for a stranger. When we imitate him, the Church teaches that we will live a good life, a happy life, and lead a life full of meaning that will make a difference and prepare us for eternal happiness where we hope to hear the words Jesus shared in Matthew 25: “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
Divided into four main parts, the pastoral letter is a guide for Catholics and explains “how we can put into practice a life of mercy and forgiveness and the many opportunities during this Jubilee to grow in joy and become Merciful Like the Father” as communicated by Pope Francis when he announced a Year of Mercy for the Church. The parts include:
- Introduction: Merciful like the Father
- The Jubilee of Mercy
- Living mercy: The corporal and spiritual works of mercy
- The Year of Mercy in the Archdiocese of Boston
In the fourth part, Cardinal Seán suggested seven actions for Catholics in the Archdiocese of Boston to live the Year of Mercy well. They steps are:
- Read about God’s mercy
- Receive God’s mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation
- Grant mercy to those who have hurt you
- Bring others to receive God’s mercy this year
- Make a pilgrimage to the Cathedral of the Holy Cross this year, enter through the Holy Door and receive the Jubilee Indulgence
- Practice each of the works of mercy at least once
- Recite the Jubilee of Mercy prayer
Committing to practice each of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy is an important theme of the letter.
- Corporal Works of Mercy include: feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, offering shelter the homeless, clothing the naked, care for the sick, visiting the imprisoned and burying the dead.
- Spiritual Works of Mercy include: admonish the sinner (correct those who need correction), instruct the ignorant (teach the faith to others), counsel the doubtful (give advice to those who need it), comfort the sorrowful (give comfort to those who suffer), bear wrongs patiently (be patient with others), forgive all injuries (to forgive others who hurt you), and pray for the living and the dead (to pray for everyone who needs our prayers).
Cardinal Seán writes, “By practicing mercy, Pope Francis believes we can rediscover the mission of the Church” and “Pope Francis wants each of us to experience God’s mercy in a profound way as we receive it and then share it.” In speaking to a rediscovering of mercy the Cardinal adds, “When we see with the eyes of mercy, we open the doors of our hearts. We can no longer be indifferent and focused only on our own challenges. We open doors and serve others who desire to encounter God’s mercy.”
In his concluding text the Cardinal writes that, “My prayer is that we will all become more like Christ during this Jubilee Year, that we will become people of mercy, who reveal God’s love and mercy to everyone we meet. May God grant us the grace and strength to become merciful like the Father, whose heart is filled with love for us and for all those most in need of his mercy.”
For the complete text to the more than 8,500 word document in English, Portuguese and Spanish:
About the Archdiocese of Boston: The Diocese of Boston was founded on April 8, 1808 and was elevated to Archdiocese in 1875. Currently serving the needs of 1.8 million Catholics, the Archdiocese of Boston is an ethnically diverse and spiritually enriching faith community consisting of 289 parishes, across 144 communities, educating approximately 38,000 students in its Catholic schools and 156,000 in religious education classes each year, ministering to the needs of 200,000 individuals through its pastoral and social service outreach. Mass is celebrated in nearly twenty different languages each week. For more information, please visit www.BostonCatholic.org.