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Year of Mercy – Message from Bishop William


Dear Friends,

Sin and failure are part and parcel of the human experience. Despite our best efforts we sometimes fail in life. It can leave us downhearted even depressed. It can lead us into despair. “Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness, In your compassion cleanse me from my offences”. So begins Psalm 50 (51) – a beautiful reflection on the healing power of God’s mercy in the life of the humble believer.

Pope Francis will formally launch “The Year of Mercy” with the opening of the Holy Door in his Cathedral in Rome, St. John Lateran on this Sunday December 13th. All bishops in the world will do likewise in their Cathedral Churches. The Holy Door is a powerful symbol for the Year of Mercy. It is more than a door that secures the building rather it is the threshold by which we enter into a new experience of God’s mercy and a new hope for living. God’s mercy is his greatest gift to us because it empowers us to begin again when we can easily become downhearted. This Year of Mercy will present many opportunities by way of pilgrimage and prayer for you and your family to be reconciled and find new peace.

“Be merciful as your Father is merciful” (Lk. 6:36ff)

Pope Francis has offered the Church worldwide this clear but difficult Gospel invitation to focus our spiritual growth this year. There are so many areas of our lives that are in need of healing. We are not always at peace within ourselves. We often fool ourselves into thinking that if we could only have a particular thing in life we would be happy. Illness can take a great toll on our sense of calm. Relationships in our families can lead to great stress. Financial pressures can lead to constant anxiety.

Our experience of personal calm is so important for living life in a wholesome way. Jesus reminds us: “Peace I leave you, my own peace I give you, A peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid” (Jn. 14:27). Our appreciation of God’s mercy is our model for sharing mercy in the lives of all those we encounter. As a teacher we will convey it to our students. As a grandparent or parent, kindly acceptance of the child, will help them grow and flourish. Equally, a young person who takes time and makes the effort to think of others, be it their parents or fellow students can make the lives of their families and school communities places of enjoyment and contentment.

Workers and their bosses have no less of an obligation to appreciate their blessings and seek to work in harmony for the common good. Those in political leadership have a unique role in creating a climate in which community and family life can prosper. That leadership calls for courage and perseverance in ensuring that human and spiritual values are reflected in the policies they devise, and give effect to, in their political choices.

The Year of Mercy is a tonic for turbulent times. It frees us from the harsh chains of the marketplace which while necessary must ultimately be at the service of the whole of the community and not just the preserve of the few.

The Year of Mercy is a great time to reclaim the spiritual riches of the Gospel of Jesus. It is a time afforded to the Church to mine deeper the rich heritage of wisdom for living well and with balance.

As Bishop, I extend a heartfelt invitation to all to embrace this opportunity to reconnect with your own, to enjoy the serenity our Creator God has promised those who put their trust in Him.

“A new heart create in me O God
Put a steadfast Spirit in me” Ps. 50 (51)

Wishing you the Joy and Peace of Emmanuel

+ William Crean
Bishop of Cloyne

Bishop William Crean opening the Door of Mercy in St Colman's Cathedral, Cobh, Dec 12th 2016.

Bishop William Crean opening the Door of Mercy in St Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh, Dec 12th 2015.

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