“We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it. Mercy: the word reveals the very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Mercy: the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us. Mercy: the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life. Mercy: the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to a hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness.
The Holy Year will open on 8 December 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. This liturgical feast day recalls God’s action from the very beginning of the history of mankind. After the sin of Adam and Eve, God did not wish to leave humanity alone in the throes of evil. So he turned his gaze to Mary, holy and immaculate in love (cf. Eph 1:4), choosing her to be the Mother of man’s Redeemer. When faced with the gravity of sin, God responds with the fullness of mercy. Mercy will always be greater than any sin, and no one can place limits on the love of God who is ever ready to forgive. I will have the joy of opening the Holy Door on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. On that day, the Holy Door will become a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instils hope.”
Listen to Hymn for Year of Mercy:
The image and its meaning:
The logo and the motto together provide a suitable summary of what the Jubilee Year is celebrating. The motto Merciful Like the Father (taken from the Gospel of Luke, 6:36) invites us to follow the merciful example of the Father who asks us not to judge or condemn but to forgive and to give love and forgiveness without measure ( Lk 6:37-38). The logo – designed by Father Marko Rupnik SJ – presents a small theological summary of the theme of mercy. In fact, it shows an image quite important to the early Church: that of the Son having taken upon his shoulders the lost soul showing that it is the love of Christ that brings to completion the mystery of his incarnation ending in our redemption. The logo has been designed in such a way so as to show the deep way in which the Good Shepherd touches the flesh of all people and does so with a love with the power to change one’s life. One particular feature is that while the Good Shepherd, in his great mercy, takes humanity upon himself, his eyes are merged with those of man he carries. Christ sees with the eyes of Adam, and Adam with the eyes of Christ. Every person discovers in Christ, the new Adam, one’s own humanity and the future that lies ahead, meditating, in his gaze, the love of the Father.
The scene is expressed within the mandorla (the shape of an almond), a shape quite important in early and medieval iconography, for it calls to mind the two natures of Christ, divine and human. The three concentric ovals, with colors progressively lighter as we move outward, suggest the movement of Christ who carries humanity out of the night of sin and death. The depth of the darker colour suggests the never changing love of the Father who forgives all.
I was so thrilled to get my personal copy of this wonderful encyclical ” Laudato Si ” by Pope Francis. Every paragraph nourishes the soul and sets challenges for us.
Below I have attached a pdf of the full text so you can download it to read for yourself. I suggest there is much in it that senior Students would find of great interest and challenge. I will attach further materials as I find them. The Irish Episcopal Conference produced and excellent pastoral letter “The Cry of the Earth” with an excellent resource for prayer and worship entitled ” Glas” ( Irish for Green !) containing assemblies and projects to work on.
Trócaire have a number of very good resources on Climate Change
See also their advertisement for their Take the Climate Change Challenge – which involves senior students participating in a weekend taking place at the University of Maynooth on 26-29 November 2015. This weekend is for young people who are concerned about the effect that our changing climate is having on people and communities around the world, and want to find out how to get involved in tackling climate injustice in the developing world. The weekend costs £25-00 and the closing date for applications is 16 October 2015 – so need to hurry! See more details at:
In order to raise awareness and understanding of what Climate Justice is and to encourage action to achieve it the SMA has initiated this Campaign which is being used at all SMA events and in all SMA Houses during 2015. It asks individuals to promise or pledge to be better stewards of God’s creation. People are asked to promise to take greater care of their own environment where they work or live and to use energy, food and other everyday materials more carefully.
Putting a thumbprint on a Pledge Sheet and reciting the Pledge (see below) is the formal act or sign of this commitment and all who do so also put their thumbprint on a Card which they keep as a reminder of the promise they have made. The Card has the pledge text on one side and practical suggestions on simple actions to care for the environment on the other side.
Thumbprint Campaign Pledge
Lord God, I pledge to take greater care of my environment, to do what I can in my own home and place.
I promise to use your gifts wisely and carefully, mindful that what I do today is affecting our world, the lives of others far away and generations yet to be born. I place my thumbprint here as a sign of this pledge and I ask you for the strength to put it into action in my life and in the example that I give to others.
I make this prayer through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Please find attached a poster from the SMA Justice Office inviting you to participate in the International Day of Prayer for Climate Justice which takes place on Sunday 1 November. Please join with the SMA family in this intention and circulate this to anyone with an interest in this critical issue for the global community at this time.
Have you seen The Poverty and Justice Bible: Catholic Edition
1,635 pages, paperback
Almost every page of the Bible speaks of God’s heart for the poor, concern for the marginalized, compassion for the oppressed, and God’s call for justice. This unique bible visually highlights more than 2,000 passages that speak of poverty and injustice.
This is an excellent Bible for everyone who wants to take Pope Francis’ challenge to reach out to the poor seriously, and especially social justice groups, youth, and young adults. Challenging the notion that the Bible is a dusty, outdated rulebook, it shows that, on the biggest issues of our day, the Bible got there first.
Clear and accessible NRSV text
Highlighted verses to clarify your understanding of God’s passion for social justice.
A unique 56-page study guide to support your individual research and group discussion.
Practical suggestions on how you can make a difference in the lives of the poor and the oppressed.
Arch Bishop Eamon at Knock recently said ….
“In recent weeks I’ve been reflecting on Laudato Si (Praise Be), the recently published encyclical of Pope Francis about care for the earth – our common home. In it Pope Francis describes the ‘cry of the earth’ because of irresponsible plundering and pollution of the world’s goods and resources. He also speaks about the ‘cry of the poor’ who suffer most because of the deterioration of the environment. He questions: ‘What kind of world are we leaving to our children and our grandchildren?’
In Laudato Si I can hear today’s successor of Saint Peter sounding like his ancient predecessor, once more calling on Christians to be ‘a people set apart’. Pope Francis wants us to commit to living a prophetic lifestyle – one of moderation in our use of the earth’s resources. The Holy Father calls us to reject the thinking that amassing things and pleasures can give lasting joy to the human heart. Instead, Pope Francis says: ‘learn to appreciate the beauty of nature and creation; realise how much all of us on this planet need each other; be at peace with who we are and what we have and own; savour each moment of every day; and, as Saint Therese recommended, do the little things well and with love, where possible making do with a little less.’
Typically, Pope Francis is never depressing even though he is addressing such a complex and perplexing global problem. He says: ‘All is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start … No system can completely suppress our openness to what is good, true and beautiful, or our God-given ability to respond to His grace at work deep In our hearts. I appeal to everyone throughout the world not to forget this dignity which is ours. No-one has the right to take it from us (LS205)’.
( Homily at Knock Shrine Feast of the Assumption 2015 )
Senior Religious Education :
Students might be encouraged to read some of the published reactions and reflections that have come since the Holy Father published his document. The Tablet in England had a whole series for weeks where people were invited to respond. Makes exciting and challenging Reading.
Check out the excellent Book ” Praise be to You ” Edited by Prof Eamonn Conway and journalist Cathal Barry. This is a companion and study guide to the encyclical. It is available direct from the Irish Catholic. see their website. http://www.irishcatholic.ie/shop/ priced €12.99