I found the Jubilee Year of Mercy very powerful and hate that it had to end. We had many blessings and Graces shared among the Christian faithful. I went through my first Holy Doors in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. I had with me my 23-year-old son, and he felt the hand of Mercy touch him and decided to go to confession with me after mass, which was a happy surprise for our family. As you can probably imagine it has been a long time since he has gone. My second time was in Point Pleasant, and the parish had only briefly the first class relics of St. Maximilian Kolbe the patron Saint of addiction on display and I had with me a young adult struggling with addiction, amazing, ha? My third time was in Middletown, and my experience was personal. My fourth time was in Hackensack, and I was praying for lay vocations into the Franciscan Order and especially my Fraternity of Cortesia. The very next day we had a meeting, and two new people showed, and another inquired about transferring to our Fraternity. God is good all the time, and His mercy is boundless and does not discriminate, he knocks on the door of all of our hearts.
On a parish level, I gave a PowerPoint presentation on the Jubilee Year of Mercy to inform and encourage our parishioners about the Year of Mercy and to take full advantage of this incredible opportunity before them. We rotated a statue of the Divine Mercy every week, and we had many stories of God’s mercy working in our parishioner’s lives. We even had people from other parishes wanting to be a part of it. Most people reported feeling a sense of purpose, community, and blessings, and a few shared experiences of miracles. I blogged about one possible miracle named MYSTERY, MIRACLE, OR COINCIDENCE? YOU DECIDE. To finish the story the shadows in question disappeared the day the Holy Doors closed. They have not returned, and the statue is still on display. To continue the theme of mercy we started a Divine Mercy Prayer group that meets every Tuesday morning at 9 am to pray for the needs of the parish, our parishioners, and the world.
The Jubilee Year of Mercy is now over, and the closed doors remind me that the doors of my heart are to remain open throughout my Christian life.
A Corporal Work of Mercy to end the Jubilee Year of Mercy my Fraternity Cortesia joined forces with a new apostolate called “The Barn” who serves the poorest of the poor. They collect and distribute to the homeless areas of Newark, Trenton, and Manhattan feeding and clothing as many as they can. They also donate supplies to the Franciscans of the Renewal, and Mother Theresa’s the Missionaries of Charity for their outreach to feed and clothe the poor and homeless. Of course, they serve even more than these, and you can learn more here “The Barn.”
For Advent, my Fraternity created a project called the Franciscan Advent basket. Each member places a canned item, personal care item or clothing into a basket or box every day of Advent.
At our December meeting, we will collect the baskets and donate them to our Apostolate, the barn. We shared our project with the pastor of Mary Mother of God Church in Middletown, where our Fraternity meets and he extended an invitation to the entire parish family. The parish has over 10,000 families, so we are expecting a lot of donations.What a great way to end the Jubilee Year of Mercy and welcome the baby Jesus by giving gifts to poorest of the poor.
The pope has extended the power of priests to forgive the sin of abortion indefinitely. In the past, special permission from a Diocese Bishop was required for a priest to absolve the sin. We can extend this exuberant year in our own way by living Divine Mercy every day. We can be the vessel God uses to spread His mercy and love far and wide. How about you? How has the Jubilee Year of Mercy changed your life and those you love? And how might you extend Divine Mercy?