Pope to Officially Convoke Year of Mercy Tomorrow

Bull of Indiction Will Be Consigned Symbolically to World’s Bishops

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Pope Francis will officially convoke the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy tomorrow.

On the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday, the Pope will officially convoke the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy with the publication of the Bull of Indiction, “Misericordiae vultus,” at  5.30 p.m. tomorrow evening in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Jubilee Bull constitutes the basic document for understanding the spirit in which the Holy Year was convoked, as well as Pope Francis’ intentions and the fruit he hopes the year will bear. Moreover, it states the duration, opening and closing dates, and the main ways in which the Holy Year will unfold.

To make the proclamation, Pope Francis, along with the cardinals, will proceed to the entrance of the Vatican Basilica. The Bull of Indiction will be handed to the four cardinal archpriests of the papal basilicas of Rome at the side of the Holy Door.

Last month, a statement issued by the Holy See, gave some background on the Bull of Indiction, noting the term bull comes from the Latin bulla which refers to a bubble or, more generally, a rounded object. It originally indicated the «metal capsule used to protect the wax seal attached with a cord to a document of particular importance, to attest to its authenticity and, as a consequence, its authority.»

«Over time,» it stated, «the term began to be used first to indicate the seal, then the document itself, so that nowadays it is used for all papal documents of special importance that bear, or at least traditionally would have borne, the Pontiff’s seal.»

The Bull for the Indiction of a jubilee, the statement underscored, «constitutes the fundamental document for recognizing the spirit in which it is announced, and the intentions and the outcomes hoped for by the Pontiff, who invokes it for the Church.»

The cardinal archpriests to be given it are Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica; Cardinal Agostino Vallini, archpriest of the Basilica of St. John Lateran; Cardinal James Michael Harvey, St. Paul Outside-the-Walls; and Cardinal Santos Abril y Castello, archpriest of the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

To express his wish that the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy will be celebrated in Rome and throughout the world, Pope Francis will consign a copy of the Bull, to present it symbolically to all bishops, to Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; to Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples; and to Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, born in Hong Kong and now secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, will receive a copy on behalf of all the East.

Archbishop Bartolome Adoukonou, from Benin who is secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, will represent Africa.

For the Oriental Churches, the Holy Father will present the Bull to Msgr. Khaled Ayad Bishay of the Patriarchal Church of Alexandria of the Copts.

Convoking the extraordinary Holy Year, Msgr. Leonardo Sapienza, the Regent of the Papal Household, as apostolic protonotary, will read various extracts from the official document. 

Following Saturday’s events, Pope Francis will preside at the celebration of First Vespers of Divine Mercy Sunday.

The last extraordinary Holy Year was declared by St. John Paul II in 1983 and commemorated the 1,950th anniversary of the Year of Redemption, the year Christ died.


On ZENIT’s Web page:

For more information about the Vatican’s explanation of what the Bull of Indiction is, and about the announcement of this Holy Year, click here: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/bull-of-indiction-for-jubilee-year-of-mercy-to-be-published-on-april-11th

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