THE AMAZING GRACE OF THE HOLY YEAR IS STILL OURS FOR THE TAKING!

July 18, 2016

This summer it seems that many people have decided upon the ‘staycation’ option. Rather than travelling to far destinations and/or spending considerable money on resorts, airfare or hotels, some people are staying closer to home, or even at home! The benefit, besides saving money for better things, is that families are spending more time together. Just hanging around home a bit more. Talking, working together on home projects and just getting to know each other better. They are sharing moments that they will fondly remember and be grateful for in future years.

There is still the desire, however, to still “hit the road” during the summer months. Everyone wants to make at least one road trip with the whole family and with friends. Our Ukrainian Catholic culture in Manitoba offers us a great deal of opportunities! There is of course the wedding of a relative on the other side of the province. A great opportunity to meet up with long-lost relatives and have a fun time with family and strangers for a couple of days. There are visits to the lake – day trips or longer stays at your own or an acquaintance’s cottage. But there’s much more…

There is the summer camp experience for children that we just had for hundreds of Manitoba’s children and youth from around the province. There are the once-a-year parish praznyks (annual feasts) at that church where your Baba and Dido used to attend and might have been built by their parents. As these pioneer churches seem to be disappearing from the landscape due to neglect and just no one left to maintain them – the annual Praznyk becomes all the more special. Consider checking out the date of Praznyk of the country church of your ancestors and plan to attend with the whole clan. It can be an inspirational event if you research the history together and even ask the local people (those few still left) if you can spend a few days there as a family, maybe researching the cemetery and maybe cutting the grass and painting the outside…

Then there is a 2016 twist of the unique monuments challenge. Some people plan a road trip to visit all (well, many of) the unique monuments throughout the province. There’s the mosquito in Komarno, the viking at Gimli, the miner at Thomson, the camel at Glenboro, etc. Now with modern communications you can even keep those who couldn’t go with you updated with smartphone pictures and skype. Baba at home can be almost right “there” with you as you travel. Then… we come to a marvellous opportunity this year only…   

What about a HOLY YEAR PILGRIMAGE right here in Manitoba!? For this Jubilee Year of Mercy three of Manitoba’s Archbishops have designated a total of 10 Holy Doors at various convenient locations throughout the province. These Holy Doors serve as portals, in a sense, to a new life. What is the key to using them?

The goal of the Year of Mercy is to allow God’s Grace to move the hearts and souls of all peoples in our troubled world – beginning with ourselves. The goal of the Holy Year is that we would be bold and humble enough to open ourselves to God’s loving grace… to give our Lord a chance to enter our souls and show His immeasurable love. Pope Francis declared a Jubilee Year of Mercy that is open to all people of good will. During this Year (which ends on the feast of Christ the King in November) we have the opportunity to reconcile ourselves to God and to make restitution for our sin and get on with the wonderful life that our Lord wants each and every one of us to have!

Pope Francis in his document announcing the Jubilee Year also explained one of the greatest benefits – a “Plenary Indulgence”. This might be equated with a total waiver of any debt that is owning due to our sin. By a valid Sacramental Confession certainly we are forgiven for our sinfulness, yet we still want to help repair or make restitution for the damage that our sin caused. By acts of penance, we make restitution. A Jubilee Year offers us relatively easy acts of penance that are even enjoyable to accomplish! The two basic categories of acts of reparation that Pope Francis suggested are either a “works of mercy” or a “pilgrimage to a Holy Door”. The 14 works of mercy are listed below. And the 10 locations of Holy Doors in Manitoba can be found in the pdf attachment here.

Besides a pilgrimage or a work of mercy, we need to change our own lives. How do we do this? Quite simple actually…. We make a good sacramental Confession. We worthily receive Jesus in the Holy Communion. We declare our faith by praying the Creed. We pray for Pope Francis, the visible leader of the Church (by praying, say, the Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary and Glory). We spend a good moment in meditating on the mercy of God and how we can reflect that mercy to the people around us. And in connection with all that… we make a pilgrimage to one of the designated Holy Doors and/or we perform a Work of Mercy.

By fulfilling all of the above requirements, we may obtain a “plenary Indulgence” even once every day. Why would be want to do that? Once we’ve made out peace with our loving Lord and basically changed our lives, why would we want to do this more often… even every day!? Because there’s more extraordinary news about all this…. You see, we can do this for ourselves or for a deceased soul (that we may or may know). How’s that? Well, in other words Pope Francis as the holder of the keys grants us the possibility of extending this unique opportunity of experiencing of God’s mercy to - our deceased loved ones who depend on our prayer. That is to say… once we have obtained this Plenary Indulgence for ourselves, we can do the same thing (i.e. work of mercy, passing through a Holy Door – together with the prayers, meditation and Holy Communion) in someone else’s name… who has passed from this life and awaits that total restitution to be worthy to enter the presence of God in the Kingdom of Heaven. [However, we can do this only for the deceased as, again, they depend on our prayer. The living have to obtain this indulgence grace for themselves as they are all capable of doing so.] see the Jubilee Year website for all kinds of information and explanations!

Have a great Jubilee Year of Mercy Summer!

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BTW - The Works of Mercy include:

Spiritual” Works

       Dissuade a sinner from sin…

       Instruct the ignorant…

       Counsel the doubtful…

       Comfort the afflicted… 

       Patiently bear with wrongs…

       Forgive offenses from your heart…

       Remember the living & the dead in your prayer.

 

Corporal” Works:

       Feed the hungry…

       Give drink to the thirsty…

       Cloth the naked…

       Offer a home to travellers…

       Help the sick…

       Visit those in prison…

       Give the dead a proper burial.


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