Jubilee Year of Mercy
December 8, 2015 – November 20, 2016
“We constantly need to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it.”
~ Pope Francis
As we prepare ourselves for the birth of Our Lord, and after having received the rich graces of having our patron saint’s relics with us, we embark on yet another great moment in the life of St Sharbel’s parish in Portland.
Pope Francis invites us to think about mercy anew as the “act by which God comes to meet us” but also mercy as 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”. He invites us to live by this mercy in our parishes and lives, to forgive others as well as to seek reconciliation. He challenges us to understand mercy and justice as “two dimensions of the same reality” on the way of conversion of the sinner towards love. We are asked to proclaim and live by the word of God’s mercy, to reach out to others, to help strengthen and accompany them through their struggles. In moments where we experience God’s great love for us, we are assured of his mercy — we know that God loves us. Let us share the joy of the Gospel through our actions, our words and our prayers during this Holy Year of Mercy.
Join Us – Feast of the Immaculate Conception
The Jubilee Year of Mercy Begins on December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. We will celebrate this great Feast Day at 12:00 noon and also at 7:00pm at St Sharbel’s Parish in Portland.
Pilgrimage Churches/ Indulgences
Our Maronite bishop, the Most Rev. Elias Zaidan has designated our parish as a site of pilgrimage (pilgrimage church). According to his decree, an indulgence is available to all the faithful who visit a pilgrimage church.
“Visiting one of the pilgrimage Churches can obtain an indulgence. What is an indulgence? The Church explains, “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 defined conditions through the Church’s help when, as a minister of redemption, she dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions won by Christ and the saints” (Indulgentarium Doctrina 1). To gain a plenary (full) indulgence you must perform the act with a contrite heart, plus you must go to confession, receive Holy Communion, and pray for the pope’s intentions. (An Our Father and a Hail Mary said for the pope’s intentions are sufficient, although you are free to substitute other prayers of your own choice.) The final condition is that you must be free from all attachment to sin, including venial sin.”
Doors of Church to be Blessed
Prior to the celebration of the Holy Mysteries on Sunday December 13, 2015, Fr. Christopher will bless the doors of the Parish, praying the prayers of consecration. The doors are blessed representing the fact that all who enter of the year are blessed. The Holy Father assigned the right to all his brother bishops to designate sites of pilgrimage in their dioceses and our bishop assigned his local priests to bless the doors of the churches he designated.