Tag Archives: year of mercy

A Special Opportunity for Mercy

Now is the time for mercy. This is a special time of mercy.

Why is this a time of mercy? 

It’s pretty obvious that our country has recently reached a new level of upheaval and unrest. Amidst the barrage of media, politics, and protests, I’ve been focusing on protecting my peace and meditating on mercy.

“In the Church today, there’s a lot of talk of the ‘time of mercy,’ a time of great grace and blessing. Why? Simply put, it’s because the times are so evil,” as Fr. Mike Gaitley says in “33 Days to Merciful Love” (see Rom 5:20.)

Furthermore, on December 8, 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis opened the Holy Door in St. Peter’s Basilica, inaugurating the Jubilee of Mercy. And that Jubilee Year of Mercy is now coming to a close this Sunday, November 20th, the Solemnity of Christ the King.

(If you haven’t been following along in this Year of Mercy, there are some cliff notes at the bottom to catch you up to speed.)

There is an opportunity to receive a special kind of mercy before the Holy Doors close, on this Saturday (some Holy Doors have already closed) in many places around the world. This mercy can be received in the form of a Plenary Indulgence.

What is a Plenary Indulgence?

“An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints”. [Source: Code of Cannon Law + CCC 1471]

What’s all this about remission of temporal punishment?

Think of this as a clean slate, in the fullest sense.

In the Sacrament of Baptism not only is the guilt of sin remitted, but also all the penalties attached to sin. In the Sacrament of Penance the guilt of sin is removed, and with it the eternal punishment due to mortal sin; but there still remains the temporal punishment required by Divine justice, and this requirement must be fulfilled either in the present life or in the world to come, i.e., in Purgatory. An indulgence offers the penitent sinner the means of discharging this debt during his life on earth. [Source: New Advent]

How do I get a Plenary Indulgence in the Holy Year of Mercy?

Most folks should have a few more days to obtain this special Jubilee Plenary Indulgence, so here’s the simple breakdown:


For more info, check out the Vatican site.

Where are the Doors of Mercy?

Here is a map of the Doors of Mercy found around the world.

NOTE: Some Holy Doors have already begun to close, so please contact the church prior to making your visit. All Holy Doors will be closed before the Pope officially closes the Year of Mercy on November 20, 2016.

What is a Jubilee Year?

The practice of a jubilee year has ancient roots in the Jewish tradition and evidence for it can be found in the Old Testament (for example, see Leviticus 25).  The jubilee year was called every fifty years and was a time for forgiveness.  It stood as a reminder of God’s providence and mercy.  The dedication of a year for this emphasis provided the community with a time to come back into right relationship with one another and with God.  As the practice of the jubilee year was adopted into the Catholic Church, these themes of mercy, forgiveness, and solidarity continued.  [Source: USCCB]

So, when was the last jubilee year? It was in 2000, during the papacy of Pope John Paul II, and was called “the Great Jubilee.”  In 1983, the Church held the last extraordinary jubilee year, celebrating 1,950 years since the death and resurrection of Christ.

What is the Holy Door?

Each diocese will have the opportunity to open a Door of Mercy in their diocese, all members of the faithful will have opportunity to make a pilgrimage to their local Holy Door during the Jubilee.  This pilgrimage is to be a journey of walking closer with God and discovering “moment[s] of grace and spiritual renewal” (MV, 3. . . ).  These doors are symbols of God’s mercy, open to welcome everyone into the compassion of God’s love that Christ proclaimed.  [Source: USCCB]

“To pass through the Holy Door means to rediscover the infinite mercy of the Father who welcomes everyone and goes out personally to encounter each of them,” Pope Francis said.

May the end of your Year of Mercy bring you into a deeper encounter with the mercy of God, and a desire to be the face of mercy to others.


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Tribute to Mom: Behind The Bucket List Wedding Dress Story

verily magazine


Happy Mother’s Day, Mom, this is your story…

There are many treasured moments that I shared with my Mother, and then there were moments that have changed me — even though it has taken time for me to truly understand how. I first wrote this piece that Verily magazine just published back in 2012. Part of my grieving process a year after my Mom passed, I wanted to capture the beauty of that experience. My desire was also to have the story published, which I attempted a few times that spring without success. I knew that in its due season it would be shared, but it likely would still be lying dormant in my archives had the Verily Editor not reached out for another story and my husband not encouraged me to give it another shot. I’m grateful to him, and my friends and family that have shown their love and support.

Read, “I Learned the Secret to a Happy Marriage While Fulfilling My Mom’s Dying Wish” here.

BONUS: Scroll down below the pictures for an unpublished bonus part of this story, an exchange that reminded me God’s loving care and tender mercies in the final weeks of my Mom’s life. It is the Year of Mercy after all.

This story really is a tribute to the woman, mother, wife, sister, daughter, Godmother, Aunt, cousin, friend — all of who she was, and the profound impact on our lives and the imprint that she’s left on our hearts. These are pictures captured while I was trying the dresses on for my Mom, as well as a bridal portrait with my Sweet Mother Mary and my Mom’s Rosary, wearing my wedding dress and my birthstone jewelry that she gave me. Also, I had to include a shot with Mary Katherine, the sweet dress shop owner, that made it all possible. {Bridal shot by John Wehlage}

wedding dress hospicemom bucket listmary katherines fine ladiesmonth of maryMary Katherines wedding dresses


…Changing out of the last dress, my heart had expanded.  Humbled, I confided in my new friend, “My mom loves Angels. There are over seventy that she has collected, all over this house. Mary-Katherine, you were our Angel today.”

“No, it was my blessing,” she responded, without hesitation.

“I am a one-year breast cancer survivor,” she told me. She had been a Medical Social Worker for about twenty years, and had served on the Board of Hospice for five years. I was now making it a habit of crying to Mary-Katherine.

Throughout her second battle with cancer that eventually claimed her life, Mom reminded us that we can laugh and find joy amidst the suffering of life. She cherished the opportunities to celebrate life and love in all circumstances. I hardly expected to have a profound experience of love while trying to cross one more thing off Mom’s Bucket List; yet I discovered a love that draws people together and carries them through good times and bad, in sickness and in health.

As it is Mother’s Day, I send love and blessings to all the mothers in their many faces: moms, godmothers, foster moms, adoptive moms, moms-to-be, grandmothers, spiritual mothers. Happy Mother’s Day! I also send my love and prayers to those whose mothers have passed, to grieving mothers, and women who grieve to become mothers – the Lord knows your suffering, may you know His peace.

If you haven’t read my previous article at Verily, 6 Pieces of Hard-Earned Advice I Gained From My Single Years,” check it out.

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