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Pope Calls Charity Workers, Volunteers to Be ‘Merciful as the Father’

Promotes Lenten retreats being sponsored by Cor Unum

The Pontifical Council Cor Unum, which oversees the Church’s charitable outreach, has provided materials for a spiritual Lenten retreat for Catholic charity workers across the globe, and Pope Francis today encouraged participation in the initiative.

The retreat is part of the Jubilee of Mercy, the Pope explained at the end of this morning’s general audience.

“The day, to be held in individual dioceses during this coming Lent, will be an occasion to reflect on the call and to be merciful as the Father,”  he said. “I invite you to accept this proposal, using the indications and aids prepared by Cor Unum.”

Here is the letter sent by the Pontifical Council and retreat resources can be found here:

Jubilee of Mercy – Lent 2016

Caritas Christi urget nos

Day of spiritual retreat for those who are involved in the charitable service of the Church
Promoted by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum

The Jubilee is an opportunity to meet God in order to better serve our brothers and sisters. Encountering God’s mercy means becoming merciful with our very brothers and sisters in the spirit of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. This can help to fight against the spiritual worldliness in the Church to which many times Pope Francis is asking us to be attentive.

In order to experience also the grace of the Jubilee in our places of service, Pope Francis has instructed the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, which follows at a universal level the charitable service of the Church, to propose to all those who work in different forms in the Church’s charitable activity a day of spiritual retreat during Lent on the theme: Caritas Christi urget nos.

The day should be celebrated locally within each group if possible, since it is the Holy Father’s wish that the Jubilee is celebrated especially in loco. A specific date for the entire universal Church has not been determined in order to allow each charitable organization, group or institution to carry out with great freedom according to its needs. To assist in the preparation, we present below a basic proposal, which can then be adapted that is essentially a liturgical celebration to promote the personal encounter with the Lord. It can be integrated with the passage through the Holy Door of Jubilee that is locally established.

The day will comprise three parts: a penitential celebration with individual confessions; a time of sharing in group and the Eucharistic celebration.

For the penitential celebration, a program was prepared that provides an introduction, two readings alternated with a psalm, a catechetical guide to prepare for confession, the confessions, which are done better within the celebration to show the communitarian dimension of our journey of faith.

For the time of group sharing, there are some proposed questions to assist the dialogue on how the service is lived, both in the personal commitment and in the experience with others.

For the Eucharistic celebration, the form “For Charity” can be applied, which can be used, in accordance with the respective bishop, on weekdays; however not on Sundays and feast days and from Monday to Wednesday of Holy Week, according to the liturgical norms (cfr. Institutio Generalis Missali Romani, 374). Instead, it is good to keep the readings of the day during Lent in order to maintain the spirit of the liturgical season.

In the proposed material, there is also the prayer of Pope Francis for the Jubilee and a list of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, from which the retreat day is inspired.

Also, a poster of Jesus the Good Shepherd and the works of mercy is provided. This can be used, adapting it to the local language and initiatives.

For more information, please contact directly the Pontifical Council Cor Unum ([email protected]; [email protected]).

About Kathleen Naab

United States

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