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Leader of US Bishops Visits Pope

Archbishop Kurtz speaks of increased numbers in sacrament of Confession

From Vatican Radio:

Pope Francis today received in audience the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky.

Archbishop Kurtz was meeting the Holy Father in this Jubilee Year of Mercy and while the Church in the US has been heeding the Pope’s call to go out into the periphery and put the works of mercy into practice.

As part of the year Holy Doors around the world have been a primary focus for pilgrims and the Archdiocese of Louisville has been no exception, giving the faithful no less than 20 Holy Doors to pass through in a number its’ parishes.

Vatican Radio’s Lydia O’Kane spoke to Archbishop Kurtz to find out more about how his diocese has been entering into the spirit of the year and how young Americans have been inspired by it.

The Archbishop said the feedback he has been getting from his priests has been incredibly positive, especially with regards to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a key theme of the Jubilee Year.  “… I think the Year of Mercy is what brought many of them (people) to the Sacrament of Reconciliation.”

Another initiative in his diocese to promote the year has been a “passport”.

“Someone came up with this notion of a passport on acts of mercy and works of mercy,” he said. The idea is that people can experience doing good works throughout the year and have them stamped in a passport like document. There were also increased pastoral visits to the home over the last number of months in the diocese, which the Archbishop noted was spurred on by the Year of Mercy, and “our Holy Father asking that we go to the periphery, that we not wait for people to come into the Church but rather we go out into the home”.

One of the key events in this Extraordinary Holy Year was World Youth Day in Krakow which the Archbishop attended as a catechist. “Our Holy Father”, he said, “appealed to the idealism of young people, … and that whole notion of idealism that I think has characterized youth, I guess for time immemorial was tapped into by this Year of Mercy and that would be my fond hope that what has been begun, encounters with Jesus, both in receiving mercy and in sharing mercy will be continued especially in the local Church…”

The Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy ends on the 20th November, the Feast of Christ the King

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