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Mercy Me! There’s a Jubilee coming. [Free Faith Festival Session]

Mercy Me! There’s a Jubilee coming. [Free Faith Festival Session]

Photo by Leticia Bertin on Flickr

If ever there was an opportunity for us to celebrate and be grateful for God’s mercy and compassion and forgiveness, it’s now. Carpe diem! Seize the day! Since Pope Francis announced a Jubilee Year of Mercy beginning December 8th on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and ending on November 20th of 2016, we’ve probably all been thinking about how we can weave the theme of mercy into our evangelization and catechesis. But before we get there, maybe there’s a preliminary step!

I think the first thing I need to keep in mind is to not create ways I can use the Jubilee Year of Mercy in my ministry. (That will come later.) I believe Pope Francis is calling me to show mercy myself. I have the audacity to pray the Lord’s Prayer every day. Sometimes I don’t pay attention to the fact that I am asking God to forgive me only to the degree I forgive others. No more, no less. It’s a scary thought. I am certain I’d rather be judged by God than by me. So perhaps the best way I can enter into the Year of Mercy is to become a person of mercy, to forgive, to offer mercy when I really want justice, and to have a more compassionate heart. What do you think?

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National Celebration of World Youth Day 2015 [Free Resource]

National Celebration of World Youth Day 2015 [Free Resource]

Here's a photo of some of the WYD pilgrims from the Diocese of Brownsville with other pilgrims from Canada taken at the Heathrow Airport.With less than a year away to World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow, the excitement and anticipation for this world gathering is mounting.  The recent Holy Father's apostolic visit to the U.S. has also revved up the excitement among the young Church.  

It was just last week I found photos of my first World Youth Day in August 2011 in Madrid.  I reminisced of the pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Madrid with the great group of people from the Diocese of Brownsville (TX). It was my first international travel overseas and I was really excited. The week prior to the World Youth Day was spent visiting the beautiful sites of Lisbon, Fatima, Porto, Santiago de Compostela, Avila and Toledo. During the week of World Youth Day, the city buzzed with excitement for all the celebrations and most especially the Holy Father’s visit.

Though long lines and cold cuts sometimes conjure up my memories of World Youth Day, it’s normally images of large crowds of excited people clamoring to see the Pope. It was undoubtedly a powerful experience of pilgrimage, prayer, and community.  It also provided a glimpse of how large and diverse the Church is.  It's with the same excitement that I look forward to heading out to Krakow next year and celebrating the national celebration of World Youth Day next month on October 25, 2015.

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Love is Our Mission – Let’s Gather to Celebrate and Grow! [Free Session Outline]

“In Jesus, we meet a God who reaches out to us, who creates communion and invites us to share in his joy. We are made in God’s image and called to communion with him and each other. This love gives purpose and shape to all aspects of human life, including the family.”

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