Jubilee Year of Mercy


Pope Francis has declared an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. This Holy Year of Mercy began December 8, 2015, the feast of the Immaculate Conception and the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council. It will close November 20, 2016, the Feast of Christ the King. This year’s motto is “Merciful Like the Father.”

Sometimes, when we think of the word mercy, we picture someone throwing themselves on their knees before a cruel villain, pleading to be spared some punishment. This is not our understanding of God’s mercy. We do not ask for God’s mercy because we are afraid of incurring his wrath as punishment for our sins. Rather, when we call on God to have mercy, we are calling on God in the only way we know him—as one who responds with compassion to those in need. When we show mercy to others, we are responding as God responds, with compassion.

December 12, 2015 Opening of the Holy Year and the Holy Door
Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus, Joliet
5:00 pm Mass


A holy door or porta sancta was first used in the fifteenth century as a ritualistic expression of conversion. Pilgrims and penitents pass through a Holy Door as a gesture of leaving the past behind and crossing the threshold from sin to grace, from slavery to freedom, and from darkness to light. Even today these rituals are associated with prayer, pilgrimage, sacrifice, confession, and indulgences.

The Holy Door only finds meaning when the believer associates the door with Christ. Jesus is the Door! In the words of Pope Francis, “There is only one way that opens wide the entrance into the life of communion with God: this is Jesus, the one and absolute way to salvation. To him alone can the words of the Psalmist be applied in full truth: ‘This is the door of the Lord where the just may enter’ (Ps 118:20).”

It is fitting that a Holy Door be situated within a church building. The door of the Church is the ianua ecclesia – “the silent witness to all the moments of our lives”

(USCCB, About the Jubilee Door, 1999).

Obtaining a Plenary Indulgence during the Holy Year of Mercy

What is a plenary indulgence?

An indulgence is the remission in the eyes of God of the temporal punishment due to sins, the guilt of which has been absolved through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  The Christian faithful who are rightly disposed and observe the definite, prescribed conditions gain this remission through the effective assistance of the Church.  A plenary indulgence frees a person from all of the temporal punishment due to sins and may be gained only once on any one day.  Indulgences are only applicable to oneself and to the dead.

How can one obtain a plenary indulgence during the Holy Year of Mercy?

By having the intention of acquiring the indulgence, going to confession (before or after the visit), receiving Holy Communion, making a profession of faith, praying for the Holy Father and for the intentions that he bears in his heart for the good of the Church and of the entire world while doing any of the following:

  • The faithful by visiting one of the Diocesan Pilgrimage churches;
  • The sick and people who are elderly and alone by receiving Holy Communion or attending Holy Mass and community prayer (even through the various means of communication);
  • Those who are incarcerated by visiting the chapel in the prison;
  • The faithful by personally performing one or more of the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.
  • The faithful by remembering the deceased at Holy Mass and praying that they be freed from every remnant of fault and thus be embraced by God in the blessedness of life eternal.

    Diocese of Joliet Pilgrimage Churches

Pilgrimage Churches



Prayer for the
Holy Year of Mercy 
Lord Jesus Christ,
you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father, and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him. Show us your face and we will be saved. Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money; the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things; made Peter weep after his betrayal, and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.

Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman:
“If you knew the gift of God”.

You are the visible face of the invisible Father, of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy: let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.

You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error: let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.

Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing, so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord, and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed,and restore sight to the blind.

We ask this through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy, you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.    Amen

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