December 2, 2015 // Uncategorized

Diocese reaches out with invitation to participate

Holy Doors to open for the Jubilee Year of Mercy

FORT WAYNE —The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend announced that, in accordance with Pope Francis, three symbolic Holy Doors will be opened on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, the Third Sunday of Advent. The opening of the doors will mark the beginning of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades will celebrate Mass at 5 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne. Msgr. Michael Heintz, rector, will celebrate Mass at 11 a.m. at St. Matthew Cathedral in South Bend. Holy Cross Father Peter Rocca, basilica rector, will celebrate Mass at the Sacred Heart Basilica at the University of Notre Dame during the 10 a.m. Mass. All are welcome to attend.

In April of this year, Pope Francis announced that, starting Dec. 8, on the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and the 50th anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council, an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy will be observed by the Catholic Church through November 2016. Pope Francis will start by opening a Holy Door in St. Peter’s Basilica that remains sealed except during jubilee years. The symbolic opening of the mercy doors signifies living out this Holy Year as an extraordinary moment of grace and spiritual renewal.

“By crossing the threshold of the Holy Door, we will find the strength to embrace God’s mercy and dedicate ourselves to being merciful with others as the Father has been with us,” Pope Francis wrote in his Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee.

The Year of Mercy is an opportunity for Catholics worldwide to experience God’s healing mercy. Pope Francis encourages Catholics to forgive, listen to God’s Word and practice the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

Bishop Rhoades invites all to participate in the celebration of the Mass for the opening of the Holy Doors.

Bishop Rhoades will begin the Jubilee Year with a Vigil Mass on Monday, Dec. 7, at 5  p.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne.

The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend is also hosting “Faustina: Messenger of Divine Mercy,” a live, one-woman play that helps bring to life the possibility that sanctity and holiness are possible for every person. More information can be found at


Year of Mercy to offer indulgence opportunities in the diocese

Pope Francis has decreed a number of indulgence opportunities for the faithful during the Year of Mercy, which runs from Dec. 8, 2015, through Nov. 20, 2016.

What are indulgences?

“The Catechism of the Catholic Church” describes an indulgence as “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” (No. 1471).

Through indulgences, the infinite merits of Christ, as well as the merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints, are applied to our purification in this life or the life to come (in purgatory).

A plenary indulgence removes all of the temporal punishment due to sins (“plenary” means full or complete). Other indulgences are known simply as partial indulgences.

Those obtaining a plenary or partial indulgence can choose to apply it either to themselves or to the souls of deceased persons.

What conditions must be met to obtain the Jubilee Indulgence?

For the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has announced various works that may be done to obtain a plenary indulgence associated with the Jubilee Year.

To obtain any indulgence, one must intend to gain the indulgence via the prescribed work.

One must also be baptized, be in a state of grace and not be excommunicated.

In order to obtain the Jubilee plenary indulgence, all the following conditions must also be met:

• Being truly repentant and receiving sacramental absolution in the sacrament of Penance

• Reception of Holy Communion, while reflecting on the nature of mercy

• Praying both for the Holy Father and for his intentions on the same day as the prescribed work either through the recitation of one Our Father and one Hail Mary or through the recitation of another appropriate prayer for the pope’s intentions (such as Pope Francis’s Jubilee prayer)

• Reciting a profession of faith (e.g., Nicene or Apostles’ Creed) on the same day as the prescribed work, done separately from a regular recitation of the Creed at Mass

• Total detachment from any inclination to sin, even venial sins.

The first two actions (Confession and Communion) may be fulfilled within 20 days before or after the indulgence opportunity. However, it is most appropriate if they are done on the same day as the prescribed work.

Only one plenary indulgence can be obtained each day. A single sacramental Confession suffices for several plenary indulgences, but separately receiving Communion is required for each indulgence.

What opportunities will there be in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend to obtain the plenary indulgence during the Year of Mercy?

The aforementioned conditions apply to the following works.

Passing through the Doors of Mercy

The Holy Father will open the Holy Door of the cathedral of Rome, the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, on the Third Sunday of Advent — Dec. 13, 2015. On that same day, cathedrals and other specially chosen churches throughout the world will also open their own Holy Doors, or “Doors of Mercy.” These doors will remain open until Nov. 13, 2016.

These are the three churches in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend that will have designated Doors of Mercy at the main entrance throughout the jubilee year, along with the Masses at which the respective doors will be officially opened:

• Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne — 5 p.m. Mass on Sunday, Dec. 13

• St. Matthew Cathedral in South Bend — 11 a.m. Mass on Sunday, Dec. 13

• Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame — 10 a.m. Mass on Sunday, Dec. 13

Those who make a pilgrimage to these churches in the Jubilee Year and pass through a Door of Mercy may obtain the plenary indulgence.

• For the homebound: Pope Francis further decreed that the sick and the elderly who are unable to go on pilgrimage may receive the Jubilee Indulgence by “living with faith and joyful hope this moment of trial and receiving Communion or attending Holy Mass and community prayer, even through the various means of communication” (e.g., TV Mass).

• For the imprisoned: Those who are incarcerated “may obtain the Indulgence in the chapels of the prisons.” The Holy Father states: “May the gesture of directing their thought and prayer to the Father each time they cross the threshold of their cell signify for them their passage through the Holy Door, because the mercy of God is able to transform hearts, and is also able to transform bars into an experience of freedom.”

• Performing spiritual and corporal works of mercy: Those who perform the spiritual and corporal works of mercy during the Year of Mercy can also gain the indulgence. “Each time that one of the faithful personally performs one or more of these actions, he or she shall surely obtain the Jubilee Indulgence. Hence the commitment to live by mercy so as to obtain the grace of complete and exhaustive forgiveness by the power of the love of the Father who excludes no one.”


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