In Lent of this year, Pope Francis announced the forthcoming celebration of an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. This year will be marked from December 8, 2015 (Feast of the Immaculate Conception) through November 20, 2016 (Solemnity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, King of the Universe). During this period, the Holy Father has invited the Church to reflect on the gift of God’s Mercy and to rediscover the Church’s role as a witness to the love of God.
The USCCB’s Divine Worship Secretariat has suggested that, during this year, pastors and others involved in liturgical planning may wish to highlight the theme of mercy through the use of several optional Mass texts. These include:
–Penitential Rite B: “Have mercy on us, O Lord/For we have sinned against you. Show us, O Lord your mercy/And grant us your salvation.”
–Rite for the Blessing and Sprinkling of Holy Water: “Grant, O Lord, in your mercy, that living waters may always spring up for our salvation, and so we may approach you with a pure heart and avoid all danger to body and soul.”
“Lord our God, in your mercy be present to your people’s prayers…. You also made water the instrument of your mercy: for through water you freed your people from slavery and quenched their thirst in the desert….”
–Eucharistic Prayer I for Reconciliation: “For you do not cease to spur us on to possess a more abundant life and, being rich in mercy, you constantly offer pardon and call on sinners to trust in your forgiveness alone.”
–Eucharistic Prayer II for Reconciliation: “In a similar way, on that same evening, he took the chalice of blessing in his hands, confessing your mercy, and gave the chalice to his disciples, saying….”
–Eucharistic Prayer for Various Needs (I-IV): “Therefore, Father most merciful, we ask that you send forth your Holy Spirit to sanctify these gifts of bread and wine, that they may become for us the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization has also announced the winning entry in an international hymn competition for the Holy Year. This beautiful song, Misericordes sicut Pater, has been translated into multiple languages, and scores may be accessed from the Pontifical Council’s website. A video of the hymn (sung in Italian) is also available.