My Dear People of the Diocese of Dunkeld,
As you know, some months ago, our Holy Father Pope Francis, with his special letter ‘Misericordiae Vultus’, the ‘Face of Mercy’ promulgated an Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy. The Title of his letter refers to the face of Christ which reveals to us the Merciful Heavenly Father. This Holy Year will begin on 8th December, 2015 and end on the Feast of Christ the King, 20th November, 2016.
A Jubilee, of course, accords us a very special time of reflection in the life of the Church. This particular Jubilee focuses on the Theme of Mercy which lies both at the heart of the teaching of the Old Testament and is central to the ministry of Jesus, as described in the Gospels of the New Testament. The teaching of St Paul in his letters also, and the teaching of St John the Evangelist in his letters speak constantly of mercy. Divine Mercy is the Father’s bountiful and faithful love for us as communicated to us in the love of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.
During this Holy Year there will be many opportunities to express our faith as a Catholic people. Every month there will be an opportunity to celebrate the Holy Year with various groups of our Diocese, echoing the Church’s celebrations happening centrally in the Holy City of Rome, presided over by the Holy Father.
There will be regular updates of these Jubilee celebrations in our Diocese from me, your Bishop, in the coming months.
There will also be a heightened sense of Holy Year as we celebrate the various Pilgrimages that many of our fellow parishioners will take part in during this Year of Mercy. Therefore, Lourdes will be a special time of prayer and celebration this Year in July of next year. Also in July, there will be a World Youth Day Pilgrimage for many of our young people in Krakow, Poland when they will meet the Holy Father, Pope Francis. In September, there will be a Diocesan Pilgrimage to Rome where we can celebrate the Mercy of the Lord, visit the threshold of the Tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul, and visit the Holy Father.
Also, there will be a Diocesan celebration Pilgrimage in the month of June culminating with a procession in honour of Our Lady in the grounds of Kilgraston School, Bridge of Earn.
The first of these great celebrations of the Holy Year will take place in St Andrew’s Cathedral in Dundee on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Our Blessed Lady on Tuesday, 8th December, 2015 at 7pm. On this evening of this day we shall bless and open the Holy Door which will remain open for our journey during the entire Holy Year. As we pass through it we will be able to pray the devotions and prayers which remind us of our Pilgrimage through Life that the Holy Door symbolises for us.
There will also be a number of designated Churches in the Diocese which will remind us of our links with our Cathedral Church and with the Holy Father in Rome. In these special places we will be encouraged to pray the prayers of the Holy Year to gain the Plenary Indulgence promulgated by Pope Francis.
These churches are St John the Baptist, Perth; St Thomas’, Arbroath; St Mungo’s, Alloa; Holy Family, Dunblane; St Mary’s Forebank, Dundee and St Andrew’s Cathedral in Dundee
I would hope that prayer, penance and reconciliation will be the hallmark of renewal in our Diocese during this coming Holy Year.
With every blessing
Yours sincerely in Christ,
Bishop of Dunkeld