Father Jeff Kirby: Yes, that’s correct. I like to say that the city of Rome and I are old friends. I was a seminarian here at the North American College and then returned for further studies.
ZENIT: And you recently finished a doctorate degree?
Father Jeff Kirby: Yes, thanks be to God. I finished my doctorate in moral theology at the Holy Cross University in early June. I wrote on the natural moral law and conscience formation.
ZENIT: And you’ve taken the Extraordinary Jubilee to heart?
Father Jeff Kirby: Absolutely. I think the Holy Father has given us all a great gift of this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. When the Pope told the Church that he was going to call this Jubilee, I immediately began to think of ways in which I could live the Jubilee myself and then ways in which I could help other people to do so. And this led to the Doors of Mercy.
ZENIT: The Doors of Mercy? Tell us about the work you’ve done.
Father Jeff Kirby: The Doors of Mercy consists of a parish program and then a trade book based on the program. The parish program consists of eight sessions on the role and importance of Divine Mercy in the story of salvation. It can be done by groups within a parish or by the entire parish. Each session has a lesson, discussion questions, and then follow-up thoughts by experts in different fields. The lesson is given in a narrative fashion with biblical perspectives, examples, and humor. The whole structure is aimed at helping people to better understand God’s mercy and find deeper ways to live it in their own lives.
ZENIT: And the trade book is based on the program?
Father Jeff Kirby: Yes, the trade book “Doors of Mercy: A Journey Through Salvation History” was co-written by myself and Brian Kennelly, a novelist with St. Benedict Press. Brian took the content from the program, and some additional content I recommended, and wrote the book in a narrative style. People have commented on how smoothly the book reads. Various pieces of sacred art were included in the book, which enhance even more the content and depth of the story of mercy.
ZENIT: And these are meant as resources for the Jubilee?
Father Jeff Kirby: Yes, they are meant to help us all live the Jubilee Year of Mercy. In the past, it was said that “all roads lead to Rome,” but the Jubilee turns this upside down. And these resources are meant to help “all roads lead from Rome to home,” to our families, parishes, and small groups throughout the world.
ZENIT: Where can parishes find these resources?
Father Jeff Kirby: The parish program and trade book are available from the publisher, St. Benedict Press.