By Sarah Mac Donald - 26 February, 2016
The Bishop of Ferns has suggested that the faithful should mark the Jubilee Year of Mercy by inviting a family member or friend to return to Church.
In his pastoral letter for the Jubilee Year, which is being distributed in parishes across Ferns this weekend, Bishop Denis Brennan set out a number of suggestions as to how the faithful could best mark the jubilee in their diocese.
These include, over 8-10 March, entering the Holy Door in Ferns Cathedral and availing of the sacrament of reconciliation and praying for the intentions of the Pope.
He also suggested that they could assist a relative or neighbour who might wish to come along and participate on the afternoons of 8-9 March in the blessing of the sick at the Cathedral at 3pm.
“Each of us is asked to look in to our own lives and see who it is we might need to forgive or who it is that we might need to approach with an apology,” Bishop Brennan reminded the faithful.
He said people might also consider joining an apostolic group such as the St Vincent de Paul, Meals on Wheels, Family Life Services and offering our time, talent or treasure.
They might consider going on pilgrimage as an individual or as a group to a local holy well, Our Lady’s Island, Knock, Lough Derg, World Youth Day, Lourdes or Fatima or become a helper on one of the diocesan Pilgrimages.
Another suggestion was to organise a coffee morning after Sunday Mass and make a special effort to include the elderly and the sick. “Extend an invitation to all homes in the curacy or parish. Send out the message that all are welcome,” Bishop Brennan urged.
“Bring your ‘mercy candle’ along to the Cathedral for the days of our Triduum (8- 10 March) and have it blessed. Place your blessed candle in a place of prominence in your home and light it this year during a significant family event.”
In his pastoral, Dr Brennan reminded the faithful that this year they are invited to open ever wider the doors of their hearts, homes and churches, and having more deeply experienced the love and mercy of God ourselves, they are asked to bring that warmth and tenderness to all those they meet.
“In this Pastoral Letter, I invite you to explore with me what the Jubilee Year of Mercy means; where it comes from; what graces and blessings it offers and how best we might celebrate it together here in Ferns diocese.”
“In approaching God for His mercy this year, may we be gifted with ever bigger hearts and minds – apologising to each other where needed – and in graciously accepting an apology offered to us by another.”
“In a world that can at times get cold and dark, we the disciples of Jesus are invited to become warmer and brighter – a beacon of hope and kindness that reflects the light of Heaven – ‘being merciful to others as our Father in Heaven is merciful to us’.”
He appealed to people that in this Year of Mercy that they hold out a hand to the outcast and the sinner, the person in darkness, the one in grief or pain, their neighbour who is lonely, their brother or sister in torment or in difficulty.
“And may we do that by opening our own lives to that Mercy first.”