On Sunday, Dec. 13, Bishop Richard J. Malone will open the "Door of Mercy" at St. Joseph Cathedral, 50 Franklin St., Buffalo, signifying the beginning of the Jubilee Year of Mercy for the Catholic Church. The doors symbolize the welcoming of all to the Church. The ritual will take place at the 10:30 a.m. Mass. All are welcome.
In March, Pope Francis declared the Jubilee of Mercy for Dec. 8, 2015 - Nov. 20, 2016, and published the Bull of Indiction in April. A "bull" is an apostolic letter from the pope. In his bull for the Year of Mercy, "Misericordiae Vultus" ("The Face of Mercy"), Pope Francis outlined the overall spirit and intentions for the Jubilee, as well as the spiritual fruits that are hoped for during this special time period. The Holy Father will open the Holy Door of St Peter's on December 8 and parishes throughout the world will follow as a sign of communion of the whole Church.
Throughout the year, Catholics will be called on to live out mercy. That can be accomplished, for example, through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy - feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned, bury the dead, admonish the sinner, instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, comfort the sorrowful, bear wrongs patiently, forgive all injuries and pray for the living and the dead.
One initiative the diocese has embarked on during the Year of Mercy is "The light is on for you" program where the sacrament of penance is more accessible especially during the seasons of Advent and Lent. Most Catholic churches will be open for confession on Wednesdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in addition to their regular confession schedule. A complete list of parishes and their additional confession times during Advent can be found here.