Melkite Greek Catholic Church
 
Prayer of Pope Francis for the Jubilee of Mercy

Lord Jesus Christ, You have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father, And have told us that whoever sees You sees Him. Show us your face and we will be saved. Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Mathew from being enslaved by money; The adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things; Made Peter weep after his betrayal, And assured Paradise to the repentant thief. Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, The words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman: “If you knew the gift of God!” You are the visible face of the invisible Father, Of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy: Let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified. You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness In order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error: Let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing, So that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord, And your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor, Proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed, And restore sight to the blind. We ask this through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy, You who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.
Jan 012016
 
O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, v. Alleluia! For His mercy endures forever, alleluia! (after each verse) O give thanks to the God of gods, O give thanks to the Lord of lords, To Him who alone has wrought great wonders, To Him who made the heavens with understanding, To Him who established the earth upon the waters, To Him who alone has made great lights, The sun for dominion of the day, The moon and the stars for dominion of the night, To Him who smote Egypt with their first-born, And led forth Israel out of the midst of them, With a strong hand and lofty arm, To Him who divided the Red Sea into parts, And led Israel through the midst of it, And overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea, To Him who led His people through the wilderness, To Him who smote great kings, And slew mighty kings, Sihon, king of the Amorites, And Og, king of the land of Basan, And gave their land for an inheritance, An inheritance for Israel, His Servant, For in our humiliation the Lord remembered us, And redeemed us from our enemies, He that gives food to all flesh, O give thanks to the God of Heaven, O Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, alleluia! For His mercy endures forever, alleluia!
 
Dear Clergy and Faithful, The Jubilee of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis coincides with our Melkite Jubilee – our 50th anniversary of the presence of our own Melkite bishop in the United States. In a symbolic manner, Pope Francis inaugurated the Holy Year of Mercy by opening the Holy Door and entering prayerfully into St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. He emphasized that the symbolic opening to the divine life is the same gift of life that made Mary “worthy of becoming the Mother of Christ.” He performed this act on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary in the womb of St. Ann attesting to the fact that this event changed the course of human history, making a way for the coming of Christ – the greatest Mercy of God. During the Jubilee of Mercy, as well as the Melkite Jubilee, we are called to experience the joy of encountering the transforming power of the Godly life and to rediscover God’s infinite mercy to all of us. Pope Francis tells us “to put mercy before judgment.” Like Mary, he calls us “to become bearers of Christ and let ourselves be embraced by the mercy of God who waits for us and forgives everything.” The fundamental theme is return – return to the loving and merciful God. We extend this same theme of renewal and return to our Melkite Jubilee – to call back to their spiritual home all Melkites who have strayed. I have decided that the door to every parish church or mission is to be considered a holy door. What is very necessary for all to receive God’s blessings: each person must actively accept God’s mercy through participation in the Holy Mystery of Repentance or Confession. This is to be followed by the spiritual and corporal works of mercy – caring for and serving one another. We recognize our brokenness, and like the Prodigal Son, we return to our loving Father. Like the Good Samaritan, we are called to show mercy: we need to look for those who have strayed, those who are lost, those who are hurt, those who suffer – and lift them on our shoulders to return them to the merciful Father in our church communities. We open wide the doors of all of our churches, for everyone to enter with a renewed spirit – every church door is a door of mercy, and each time we enter, we receive God’s grace to live our Christian life in a more active and focused way. Each time we enter we are reminded to shed our past and move from sin to grace – the Godly life. Last week, we sent to all parishes monthly themes and activities for the Year of Mercy and our Melkite Jubilee. I ask that you follow them as much as possible. Each and every one of us needs to renew our personal life through the Holy Mystery of Confession. Then we can begin to develop more activities in our parish in order to welcome home those who have strayed and are in need of God’s mercy. Each day we should add a special prayer to our family meals or prayers before our home icon corner. Two are included here and can be alternated each day. Psalm 135 (136) is chanted at Orthros or Morning Prayer on feasts. It is ideal for this Year of Mercy, known as the Polyeleos, meaning “abundant mercy.” A second prayer is given to us by Pope Francis. See the attached prayer sheets. Please use these prayers daily. Open your hearts. Open your church doors. Welcome those who seek the mercy of God. Be merciful like the Father! With my prayers, good wishes, and blessings for a double jubilee celebration – Jubilee of Mercy and Jubilee of a Melkite Bishop in the USA, I remain,
Sincerely yours in the merciful Savior,
Most Reverend Nicholas J. Samra
Eparchial Bishop of Newton

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