It is almost a year ago since the Year of Mercy ended. I was privileged to be at the Final Mass for the Year of Mercy celebrated in St Peter’s Square by Pope Francis. At the end of the Mass he officially released a document called Misericordia et Misera. In that document, he implored us to continue being merciful and wrote: “Mercy cannot become a mere parenthesis in the life of the Church; it constitutes her very exist-ence, through which the profound truths of the Gospel are made manifest and tangible. Everything is revealed in mercy; everything is resolved in the mer-ciful love of the Father.”
He asked us to do something special at some time throughout the year and to be creative with Scripture so that it could engage us in a different and vibrant way. On Sunday 29th October, all our parishes were invited to use Lectio Divina to help people to engage with the Gospel in a different way. I have received many emails and heard many comments from people who very much appreciated this opportunity. They loved and appreciated the silence, the chance to focus more deeply on the Gospel, and the fact that there was time to pay closer attention to the Word of God. Thank you for doing that, it has helped so many people to reflect more deeply on the Gospel.
Pope Francis also asked the world to observe the 33rd Sunday of the Year as the World Day of the Poor, which this year is. 19th November. I am sure that parishes, schools, colleges and families will think of many initiatives that can be taken to help one another become aware of the situations of poverty in our own towns and cities. I am sure that will also flow over into practical actions to assist those find it a struggle on a daily basis to make ends meet. For the World Day of the Poor we have provided a short video with some of the messages of the Holy Father about pov-erty throughout the world. This short video has been created with the help of Caritas, the St Vincent de Paul Society and Fr James Lyons. I am most grateful to them. Parishes are invited to show this video at Masses on the World Day of the Poor (19th November) and all are asked to reflect on how we might do something to help those people who do struggle.
Please remember that Mercy cannot become a parenthesis in the life of the Church. We are called to respond in mercy every day. What special effort will you make for the first World Day of the Poor?
With every blessing