31 December, 2015

BONEY M - Christmas Album 1981 (video album)

C.H.R.I.S.T.M.A.S. Jim Reeves.

Silver Bells - Jim Reeves

Christmas Song - Bing Crosby - Oh Holy Night

Year of Mercy | Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle



Luke 2, 16-21

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,  and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.

Today we begin a New Year. How will it turn out? What do I hope for this New Year? What do I really want? What do I need? To what will I devote my time, so precious and important? What would be something truly new and good in this year which begins today?

   Will I live in just any way, moving from one job to another without knowing exactly what I want or what I live for, or will I learn to sift what’s important and essential from what’s of little account? Will I live in a routine, boring fashion, or will I live more creatively?

   Will I continue to distance myself from God a little more, or will I seek him with more confidence and sincerity? Will I continue to be silent before him for another year without opening my lips or my heart, or will a  small and humble  prayer that is sincere at last spring forth from my weary soul? 

   Will I again live this year concerned only for my well-being or will I learn to sometimes be concerned about making others happy? Whom will I come close to? Will I spread joy in their lives, or sadness and discouragement? Wherever I go, will life be more loving and less difficult?

   Will it be one more year in which I keep feverishly busy, becoming more selfish, tense and nervous, or will I set apart time for silence, rest, prayer, and encounter with God? Will I be restricted to solving my problems or will I try to bring about a more humane world for people to live in?

   Will I carry on being indifferent to the news that will reach me from countries suffering from hunger; continue to look on unmoved at the scene of destroyed bodies of the people of Iraq or of those drowned in makeshift open boats ? Will I still deal heartlessly with those who come to us seeking food and work? When will I learn to look upon those who suffer with a feeling of responsibility and solidarity?

  The newness of this year will not come to us from the outside. The newness can only spring from within our hearts. This year will be new if I learn to believe in a new way with greater trust, if I find new and more loving ways to live with my own people; if I awaken new compassion in my heart for those who suffer.  

19 December, 2015

A christmas song

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What’s in the Heart That You’re Lifting Up to God? [In Advent]

Posted: 18 Dec 2015 05:00 AM PST
I was reading an Advent devotional recently and one of the reflection questions asked, “What will you do this week to bring hope to others?” My immediate reaction was, “I don’t have time to do anything more than I’m already doing! I’m spending every free moment helping my son Mike and his wife Sarah get their new home ready to move into before the holidays.” Then it occurred to me that I didn’t have to think of something more to do, but rather, I could bring to God what I was already doing.
Too often, we think that works of mercy need to involve an agency or organization that we can assist in their work with the poor, homeless, or hungry. Certainly these are worthy causes for us to support and participate in. However, we don’t have to look far to see how we are bringing hope to people we interact with everyday, beginning with family.
My son and his wife have great hopes for the old home they bought after struggling to save their money, even moving in with Sarah’s parents for over a year. On any given day for the past month, Sarah’s dad and I have been present in their new but old and empty home, putting up dry wall, plastering, sanding, and painting. I have no doubt that our presence, support, and work are bringing them great hope—the hope that young, hard-working young people desperately need as they set out on their own to make their way in the world.
Joe working on remodeling houseHere I am (left) with my son Mike working on their new home. I’m more comfortable with tools from the catechist’s toolbox!
I didn’t need to do more. I just needed to bring what I was doing to the Lord so that I could see it in a spiritual light. The Catechism tells us that “prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God.” We don’t have to clear our minds and hearts to pray. We need to bring what’s in our minds and hearts to God to help us see things in a new light.
The next time you and I hear the words, “Lift up your hearts!” we need to stop and ask, “What’s in my heart that I am lifting up to God?” and, “How can God help me to see what’s in my heart in a new way?”
In the meantime, I can’t wait to go back to Mike and Sarah’s new home and paint the next room. Nothing says hope like a freshly painted room!
What are you doing currently that is bringing hope to someone else?
The post What’s in the Heart That You’re Lifting Up to God? appeared first on Catechist's Journey.

18 December, 2015

When Christ come ......

The Christmas season is one of immense opportunity for us to re-engage those who come to church only sporadically. During this time, we should be especially effusive and warm in our welcoming efforts. Unfortunately, hospitality has become synonymous with coffee and donuts after Mass in many parishes. We seem to have relegated welcoming to a particular committee such as the Stewardship Committee or the Hospitality Committee. Not only has this mindset absolved our parishioners of the need to go out of their comfort zones to welcome others, but it also reinforces a mindset that hospitality is something that a particular group of people does, rather than being who we are as the Body of Christ.
A couple of years ago I was hosting a conference at a parish church. Midway through the day I took a break from the conference hall and went to sit in the narthex of the church. As I was sitting there, a woman came in and set up a small table. She explained that she was a member of the hospitality committee and that they took turns to welcome those who came to view the magnificent stained glass windows and art that blessed the church. Visitors signed a little guest book and were given a brochure. They were then free to explore the church and appreciate the windows and art.
After a couple of moments the door squeaked open and a man peered around the door. His hair was disheveled and he carried a sleeping bag on his back. “I heard that this is a place that I can warm up in,” he said. As he entered, the odor of his suffering permeated the narthex.
“This isn’t a warming shelter,” the lady said sharply, “but if you are here to pray, you may do so.” The man nodded and went into the sanctuary.
She lifted the phone. “Can you send someone over here?” she said. I presumed that she was calling the parish office. The next words out of her mouth are words that I will never, ever forget.
“There is an undesirable in the building,” she said. An undesirable.
The door to the sanctuary opened, and the man came back into the narthex. In his hands he carried a large purse. “I think that someone lost this in here,” he said to me.
Before I could thank him, the woman said, “Why don’t you give me that and you can sit over there so that we can make sure nothing is gone from the purse.” The face of the man crumbled, his humiliation now absolute and complete.
After this interchange, the pastor and the deacon from the parish came over. Thankfully, they recognized how cold and hungry the man was. They offered him food and drink, a place to rest, and thanked him for his honesty. The owner of the purse was found, and she gave him a monetary token of her appreciation. The man smiled. I left the narthex and went into the sanctuary, where I cried for some time.
This moment was a powerful lesson in what can happen when the Gospel mandate for radical hospitality has been reduced to a mere human construct. Jesus showed up in his own house in the form of a homeless man, and we didn’t recognize him. Not only did we not recognize him, but he showed up and revealed our hard-heartedness and our stinginess.
True hospitality is not about coffee and donuts or hearts and flowers. Hospitality is about welcoming Christ who is within every person we encounter. If we are going to train our parishioners to be hospitable, we must help them see Christ in everyone. We must train them to welcome everyone into his house in his name. It is not our house, given for just us, to those who look like us, think like us, act like us, or love like us. The house of God is given to all people, but especially the wounded, the difficult, the angry, the broken, and the lost.
The parish is a “sanctuary where the thirsty come to drink” reminds Pope Francis. At Christmas, let our parishes be, above all, places where we can see Christ in one another, particularly in those who make us a little uncomfortable. Let our parishes be places where the least of all can drink through their year of grief, joy, losses, sorrows, and wounds—a place where they can quench their thirst. Let our parishes be sanctuaries that are capable of warming hearts and bodies in love.
The post When Christ Comes, Let Us Welcome Him appeared first on Catechist's Journey.

Fr. Michael Paris talks about the Year of Mercy - Perspectives Daily Dec...

4th Sunday od Advent 2015

Judges 13: 2-7, 24-25a
Lk 1: 5-25

Our Mission

Today we are invited to reflect on the experience of these great men and women mentioned in the first reading as well as in the gospel
In the first reading from the book of Judges, Manoah and his wife were barren and had no children. Similarly in the gospel of Luke, Zechariah and Elizabeth were also barren and childless. Although, the two couples were righteous in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments blamelessly, being childless is considered a curse for the Jew at that time even until now. However it turns into a blessing because the birth of Samson and John the Baptist were part of God’s plan to save humanity. Both Samson and Baptist had to share in the mission. This is what the angel said to Mary “ Behold Elizabeth your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age and this is the sixth month for her who is called barren, for nothing is impossible for God”.( Luke 1: 36-37)
The mission of Samson was to deliver the people of Israel from the power of the Philistines (Judges 13:5). How about John the Baptist? God assigned John the Baptist a mission to fulfill: turning many children of Israel to their Lord and preparing a people fit for the Lord. (Luke: 1; 17)
Each and every one of us also has our own mission in life as a Catholic. At this moment let us reflect and sincerely ask ourselves what mission God wants you and me to fulfil as we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ.
I believe that we will only discover our true mission when we take time to come to the Holy Eucharist, listen to the Word of God and let His Word and Body transform us. Then and only then, will we be able to love and live out our mission in our daily life, in the family, and the work place as well. How? By sharing with others what we have felt and experienced in the holy Eucharist not only by words but first and foremost by our life testimony of loving and giving. This is our mission- to know Christ and to make Him known to others in our own way and in our own places.
What is our mission in life?
The day of the Christmas pageant finally arrived. Kaitlin was so excited about her part. The parents were all there to watch the performance of their children. At the edge of the stage, Kaitlin sat quietly and confidently. Then the teacher began: “A long time ago, Mary and Joseph had a baby and they named him Jesus”. She continued, and when Jesus was born, a bright star appeared over the manger”. At that cue, Kaitlin got up, picked up a large star, walked behind Mary and Joseph and held the star up high for everyone to see. When the teacher told about the shepherds coming to see the baby, the three young shepherds came forward, and Kaitlin jiggled the star up and down excitedly to show them. When the wise men responded to their cue, Kaitlin went forward a little to lead the way. Her face was as brilliant as the original star must have been. The play ended. On the way home Kaitlin said with great satisfaction, “I had the main part.” You did? Her mother questioned, wondering why she thought that. “Yes, she said, because I showed everybody how to find Jesus”.
How true!  To show others how to find Jesus, to be the light of their paths- that is the greatest role and mission we can play in life. Are we true to our mission of showing others how to find Jesus?

Fr. Martin Kuzhivelil CMI

13 December, 2015

3rd Sunday of Advent 2015


“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.”
Philippians 4:4


All too often we face personal and social issues that cause us to feel hopeless, facing the world without a spirit of rejoicing.

Paul was faced with similar problems when he wrote the Letter to the Philippians. He was in prison, either chained to a jailer or with his legs stuck in wooden stocks that kept them widely separated for greater security and greater pain. The food he received was poor, and many prisoners suffered from malnutrition. But in the midst of his suffering, Paul calls on his fellow Christians to rejoice. He told the Philippians, one of his favorite communities, to offer everything in prayer and thanksgiving to God. God’s peace, centered on Christ, would guard their hearts and minds.

Even if we’re not discouraged or hopeless, we still have to face the realities of life and relationships. John the Baptist had practical suggestions for these situations: “Do not be too pretentious in dress; share what you have. Diligently do your job or whatever other tasks you have. Do not take advantage of those over whom you have authority. Be honest with your dealings. Do penance to prepare your hearts for the coming of the Messiah.” (Luke 3:11–14, adapted)

As this is Gaudete Sunday, the Sunday in anticipation of the joy of celebrating the birth of Jesus, we are called to look with joy and anticipation beyond the issues of everyday life. This is not a self-imposed joy, but a gift of mercy that we receive from our Father.

Pope Francis

“Do not forget joy. Give thanks to God, and bring help to those in need.”
Homily for Gaudete Sunday, 14 December 2014

Advent Action

► Read Pope Francis’s address to detainees in an Italian prison.
► Reflect on this Sunday’s Gospel with Arts & Faith: Advent and the Sunday Connection.


O Lord, as we prepare for the celebration of Christmas, may the peace of God that surpasses all understanding guard our hearts and minds in Jesus Christ. 
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Advent Moments of Mercy is a free, daily e-mail series brought to you by Loyola Press and running the duration of Advent through Christmas Day 2015 (November 29 through December 25, 2015). Jim Campbell—father, grandfather, religious educator, and author of The Stories of the Old Testament and 52 Simple Ways to Talk with Your Kids about Faith—writes daily messages to help us explore the Scripture and feast days of Advent, especially paying attention to themes of mercy and incorporating the words of Pope Francis each day.

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Christmas season programme 2015

12 December, 2015


George Goss writes from New York City.
Christmas Truce of 1914 Comes to Broadway
“Our Friends the Enemy” hopes to rekindle a moment of faithful peace, in a world at war
Inline image 2
Pope Francis opened the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome on Tuesday, initiating the Jubilee Year of Mercy. And on Wednesday, in New York, the curtains will rise on an off-Broadway play in New York City telling a tale of a fleeting moment of mercy in the midst of horror.
Our Friends the Enemy, a British play that commemorates the First World War’s “Christmas Truce of 1914” makes its American debut at New York City’s The Lion Theater on Dec. 9.
The Christmas Truce was a moment of shared humanity across enemy lines in the European conflict of 100 years ago, but the spirit of feast was quickly set aside and the mutual killing intensified until an armistice was called five years later.
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In this off-Broadway retelling, the audience is brought as close to the fighting as the men of war were to one another. In one scene, the main character, Private James Boyce, describes how the opposing trenches are separated by a narrow strip of wasteland known as No-Man’s Land, snarled with barbed wire and corpses. Boyce knows he is a grenade’s throw away from the German troops fighting the British and their French allies.
Firsthand accounts of the soldiers gleaned from letters home to their loved ones vary as to when the unofficial truce started. On one section of the Western Front, British soldiers said they heard the Germans begin to sing “Stille Nacht.” The British were familiar with the melody, but initially, they did not understand the words. Soon, the British realized that it was “Silent Night,” and all of their voices became one choral exchange, singing hymns that celebrated the birth of Jesus.
Two of the producers of the play, Robert Carreon and David Adkin, said the truce is what Christmas is all about.
“It’s not like they were singing ‘Jingle Bells,’” Carreon said. “If you look at the lyrics in ‘Silent Night,’ they say everything about what the Christmas spirit is.”
Inline image 3
By some historians’ estimates, 100,000 troops, who were bent on killing each other, put aside their weapons for a spontaneous Christmas truce.
“In the bleakest of times, in the midst of a world war, a reverence for the human person shines through and is stronger than anything,” Adkin said.
The peace, however, did not last. Pope Benedict XV called for a universal cessation of hostilities, but it went unheeded by the power brokers. The leadership on both sides were concerned that fraternization on this scale was a dangerous threat to the war effort. Soon after Christmas, the combatants used chemical weapons. The result was higher casualties and further dehumanization of the enemy. By war’s end, 17 million soldiers and civilians were dead.
If the soldiers involved in the truce had any say, they may have all gone home.
Inline image 4
George Goss writes from New York City.

09 December, 2015

Year of Mercy -‘This Jubilee Year of Mercy excludes no one.'

‘This Jubilee Year of Mercy excludes no one.’

 So wrote Pope Francis in a letter in which he stated his intention to allow all priests to grant absolution for abortion, and to validate absolutions granted by priests of the Society of St Pius X, during the Jubilee Year. Both such decisions registered as ‘scandalous’ in some quarters – but mercy is scandalous, says James Keenan SJ, precisely because it excludes no one. How and why has the Church practised this mercy through the centuries by responding to those most in need?

I believe that mercy defines Catholicism. And I define mercy as the willingness to enter into the chaos of another. In this article I want to highlight how scandalous mercy is, in the multitude of ways that specific works of mercy might be scandalous, but first I want to ask two questions: why is mercy so significant and when did mercy become so important?

Why mercy?

We could give many reasons why mercy is important for Catholics, but the basic reason is: Jesus commanded it. Two texts are particularly important: the Good Samaritan from Luke’s Gospel and the Last Judgment from Matthew’s Gospel.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37) portrays mercy as the definitive expression of the ‘love of neighbour’ command. It is important for us to remember why Jesus tells this parable. He has just given the commandment to love one another and in response, one of the Scribes asked Jesus, ‘Who is my neighbour?’ Jesus responds by telling the Parable of the Good Samaritan; a close reading of the story reveals that Jesus is offering a very surprising answer to the question.
At the beginning of the story we are thinking that the answer to the question, ‘who is my neighbour?’ is: ‘the man lying wounded on the road’. But by the end of the story we are no longer looking at the neighbour who is wounded but rather at the neighbour who is acting. The Scribe therefore answers that the neighbour is the one who shows mercy. In the beginning, we think the parable is about whom we should assist. But the end is really about who we are called to be. We are called to be like the Good Samaritan, that is, to be a neighbour.
Many of us forget that this parable was never primarily a moral one. Throughout the tradition, many preachers and theologians saw in the story of the Good Samaritan the narrative (in miniature) of our redemption by Christ. Starting with Clement of Alexandria (c.150-c.215), then Origen (c.184-c.254), Ambrose (339-390) and finally, Augustine (354-430), the Good Samaritan parable has been interpreted as the merciful narrative of our redemption. Later, from Venerable Bede (673–735) to Martin Luther (1483-1546), preachers and theologians appropriate and modify the narrative, but in each instance, the narrative is first and foremost not about us, but rather about Jesus Christ!
The basic allegorical expression of the parable was this: the man who lies on the road is Adam, wounded (by sin), suffering outside the gates of Eden. The priest and the Levite (the law and the prophets) are unable to do anything for Adam. Along comes the Good Samaritan (Christ), a foreigner, one not from here, who tends to Adam’s wounds, takes him to the inn (the Church), gives a down payment of two denarii, (the two commandments of love), leaves him in the inn (the Church) and promises to return for him (the second coming, when he will pay in full for the redemption and take him with him into his kingdom).
The parable is first and foremost not a story about how we should treat others, but rather the story of what Christ has done for us. We are called to follow the actions of the Good Samaritan not because the parable is an attractive one, but because it is a retelling of the entire Gospel. The parable is not, then, one among many: besides serving as the foundational explanation of the love command, it is also the allegorical account of salvation history. The parable is about the scandal of our redemption.
This leads to the second point, namely, that the Scriptures, and in particular Matthew’s Gospel, name mercy as the condition for salvation. This is made clear in the Last Judgment in Matthew 25, where the saved are those who performed what we later called the corporal works of mercy.
The parable of Matthew 25 is striking in that everyone is surprised by the judgment. The sheep never realised that in feeding the hungry, they were feeding the king; unfortunately, the goats never realised that by not visiting the sick, they were not visiting the Lord. For Matthew we will be judged by whether we practised mercy and we will not be excused if we did not know to practise it. Thus, like Matthew's goats, the rich man in Luke 6 learns this ‘moral’ in Hades; he never showed mercy to poor Lazarus begging at his gate. The practice of mercy is the measure of our judgment. It should be as scandalous as the scandal of our own salvation.

When did mercy become so important?

Much could be written about how the corporal works of mercy developed as such. We know them to be seven: feed the hungry; give drink to the thirsty; shelter the homeless; clothe the naked; visit the sick; visit the imprisoned; and bury the dead. These are later paired with the spiritual works: give good counsel; teach the ignorant; admonish sinners; console the afflicted; pardon offences and injuries; bear offences patiently; and pray for the living and the dead.
While the first six of the corporal works of mercy are found in Matthew 25, it took several centuries for the final articulation of these ‘seven’ to become a cornerstone of the Christian life. Eventually they parallel other groups of seven, such as the seven sacraments, the seven deadly sins and the virtues (four cardinal; three theological).
Before the set mantra of seven was firmly situated, Christians heard the divine injunction to practise mercy. John never tires of recommending it (1 John 4:20-21, for example). Luke tells us how deacons are appointed to serve the most marginalised (Acts 6:1-6). Paul writes to Timothy about the selection of widows who, like the deacons, are to serve those in need (1 Timothy 5:9-10). Collectively and institutionally, the apostolic Church promotes the service of mercy.
Almsgiving becomes an early expression of mercy. Clement writes: ‘Almsgiving is good as a penance for sin; fasting is better than prayer, but almsgiving is better than both, and charity covers a multitude of sins’ (2 Clement 16). In the apostolic age, the practise of mercy is expressed in taking up a collection on the first day of every week (presumably during the Eucharist), as Paul instructs the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).
These many calls to mercy are heeded. For instance, Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, leads his congregation to respond to victims of the plague in 252. Bishop Dionysius provides a narrative of his community’s response to the plague in Alexandria in 259:
Most of our brethren, in their surpassing charity and brotherly love did not spare themselves and clinging to one another fearlessly visited the sick and ministered to them. Many, after having nursed and consoled the sick, contracted the illness and cheerfully departed this life. The best of our brethren died in this way, some priests and deacons, and some of the laity. (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. 7.22.9)
Always mindful of their need to be forgiven, Christians practised mercy with abandon, without ever excluding anyone.

The scandal of mercy

In the Middle Ages, the monasteries become centres for extraordinary mercy. One account from the famed monastery at Cluny, for instance, informs us that 17,000 persons were cared for in one year. Among the Cistercians, every abbey had a guest house for pilgrims, travellers and the poor, where the abbot waited on them after first welcoming them by prostrating himself at their feet.
Besides the monks, pious laypersons participated in the works of mercy by forming ‘lay associations.’ These began in Naples in the 10th century and later appeared in Tuscany. By the 12th century they were found throughout France, Spain and Italy, assisting members of religious orders in their apostolates mostly by establishing and maintaining hospitals. For instance, in 1217, a hospital that once belonged to a religious community was handed over to a corporation of four priests, thirty laymen and twenty-five laywomen. By the 13th and 14th century, these activities were flourishing throughout Europe.
With the spirit of Francis and Dominic in the 13th century, many professional laypersons became inspired and answered the call to mercy with great imagination. For instance, in 1244, the head porter of a wool guild in Florence (Pier Luca Borsi) formed the Company of Mercy with money collected by taxing colleagues for swearing. Others reached out to those suffering from leprosy: The Knights of St Lazarus alone established 3,000 hospitals for those suffering from the dreaded disease. Later, hospitals for the blind and foundlings for orphans were also founded. The Hospitallers of St Lazarus of Jerusalem, founded in 1120, was a military religious order. Sensitive to the fact that persons with contagious diseases were regularly excluded from hospitals, the Hospitallers operated hospitals for lepers, spread the faith and protected pilgrims in the Holy Land. They also founded as many as 3,000 leprosaria throughout Europe.  No one was excluded.
The motto of another group, the lay Order of the Holy Spirit founded by Guy de Montpellier, was: ‘The sick person is the head of the household; those who assist are the servants in the household.’ At its height, the order had founded and staffed in Europe some 800 hospitals. One of them, the Hospital of the Holy Spirit, still stands in Rome, a few hundred yards from St Peter’s Basilica.
One of the results of the extraordinary upheaval created by the Crusades was the rapid spread of prostitution. After the Crusades, prostitutes were without funds and shelter. By the end of the 12th century, houses of refuge were established in Bologna, Paris, Marseilles, Messina and Rome. In turn, some of these prostitutes themselves became sponsors of hospitality. Founding the Congregation of the Penitents of St Mary Magdalen (1225), these women established 50 houses throughout Europe, providing community life for their members and shelter for prostitutes in need.
Of the hundreds of confraternities dedicated to the works of mercy, my favourite cared for those with syphilis. In 1497, the Compagnia del Divino Amore (Confraternity of Divine Love) was founded in Genoa by Chancellor of the Republic Ettore Vernazza as a group of laity and clergy committed to working for those suffering from shame: the poor, the prostitute and the syphilitic. Victims of syphilis, having been abandoned both by their families because of shame and by hospitals because of fear of contagion, found a welcome in the confraternity’s Ospedali degli incurabili (Hospitals for the Incurables). In 1499 they built the first such hospital in Genoa. In 1517, the confraternity built ‘the Hospital of Mercy’ in Verona. Shortly thereafter, Saint Gaetano da Thiene went to Vicenza to reorganise ‘the Hospital of Mercy’ there to serve the syphilitic. In 1521 the Ospedale degli incurabili was opened in Brescia.  In 1522 Gaetano opened a hospital, still standing today, in Venice; in the same year a Confraternity chapter is founded in Padova and within four years they open their hospital for syphilitics. In 1572, a hospital opened in Bergamo and in 1584 another in Crema.
Of all the Ospedali, my favourite is the one founded in 1510 by Saint Gaetano da Thiene who built the hospital for pilgrims arriving in Rome. One can only imagine the horrendous experience of those with syphilis arriving in the big city of Rome, fearing rejection and stigma and a horrible death, but then encountering the hospitality of the Hospital of the Incurables at the church of Saint James on the Via Flaminia only a few hundred feet from the main gate of the Piazza del Popolo. These structures were built to last: today, 500 years later, the building still stands as an obstetrics hospital bringing new life into the eternal city.
When we understand that our sins are forgiven by God’s mercy, then, like all good Christians before us, we are called to imitate God and practise mercy for our neighbour in need, especially the most forgotten and those most shamed and most likely to be excluded.

James F. Keenan SJ is Canisius Professor at Boston College and author of The Works of Mercy: The Heart of Catholicism (Second edition: Rowman and Littlefield, 2008).

Official hymn of the Year of Mercy 2015-16

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Vatican Announces Official Hymn for the Year of Mercy

08/11/2015 Comments (12)
The Vatican has just introduced the official hymn of the Holy Year Of Mercy.
The title is drawn from John 6:36, Misericordes sicut Pater (English: Be Merciful, As Your Father Is), by English composer Paul Inwood. Inwood's composition was the winner in an international competition sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization. The hymn has now been released in Italian, French, and English, with a Latin antiphon and refrains.
Archbishop Rino Fisichella, first Prefect of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, explained in a press conference that the Year of Mercy is intended as an opportunity for the faithful to meet people's “real needs” with concrete assistance, to experience a “true pilgrimage” on foot, and to send “missionaries of mercy” throughout the world to show forgiveness for even the most serious of sins.
Misericordes sicut Pater is the official motto of the Year of Mercy which begins on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and continues through the Feast of Christ the King, November 20, 2016. You can read the full text at the website for the Year of Mercy.
One member of the committee which selected Inwood's hymn was Monsignor Massimo Palombella, director of the Sistine Chapel Choir. The Sistine Chapel Choir has recorded the hymn, with assistance from Vatican Radio. You can hear their rendition here.
Here’s the English-language version of the hymn as it appears on the official website:
Misericordes sicut Pater! [from Luke 6:36, the official motto of the Jubilee]

1. We give thanks to the Father, for he is good  [from Psalm 135:6]
in aeternum mercy eius
He created the world with wisdom
in aeternum mercy eius
He leads his people in history
in aeternum mercy eius
He forgives and welcomes His children [from Luke 15]
in aeternum mercy eius
2. Let us give thanks to the Son, Light of the nations
in aeternum mercy eius
He loved us with a heart of flesh [from John 15:12]
in aeternum mercy eius
we receive from Him, to Him we give ourselves
in aeternum mercy eius
the heart to open to those who hunger and thirst [from Matthew 25,31ss]
in aeternum mercy eius
Misericordes sicut Pater!
Misericordes sicut Pater!

3. We ask the Spirit the seven holy gifts
in aeternum mercy eius
source of all good, sweet relief
in aeternum mercy eius
comforted by Him, offer comfort [from John 15: 26-27]
in aeternum mercy eius
I love hopes and endures all things [from 1 Cor 13.7]
in aeternum mercy eius
4. We call for peace to the God of all peace
in aeternum mercy eius
the earth awaits the gospel of the Kingdom [from Matthew 24,14]
in aeternum mercy eius
grace and joy to those who love and forgive
in aeternum mercy eius
will be the new heavens and the earth [from Revelation 21.1]
in aeternum mercy eius

Hymn for the Jubilee Year of Mercy

"Blessed Are The Merciful" California [English] version of the 2016 WYD ...

Misericordes sicut Pater! - Hymn of the Jubilee of Mercy | music score |...

Listen to the official hymn for the Jubilee of Mercy

દયાનું જુબિલી વર્ષ Year of Mercy

Pope Francis opening the door of Mercy in Rome.

દયાનું જુબિલી વર્ષ  Year of Mercy

t's the first day of the Year of Mercy! In celebration of this day, here is a reflection from our book, A Year of Mercy: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis, which we hope you'll enjoy. If you're wondering what the Year of Mercy is all about, we're launching a website soon that will help you understand it, in a practical sense, and what the pope will be doing in the next 11 months. Don't miss the special unveiling on Sunday!

December 8, 2015: The Beginning of the Year of Mercy

A Living Sign of the Father’s Love in the WorldI have chosen the date of 8 December because of its rich meaning in the recent history of the Church. In fact, I will open the Holy Door on the fiftieth anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. The Church feels a great need to keep this event alive. With the Council, the Church entered a new phase of her history. The Council Fathers strongly perceived, as a true breath of the Holy Spirit, a need to talk about God to men and women of their time in a more accessible way. The walls which for too long had made the Church a kind of fortress were torn down and the time had come to proclaim the Gospel in a new way. It was a new phase of the same evangelization that had existed from the beginning. It was a fresh undertaking for all Christians to bear witness to their faith with greater enthusiasm and conviction. The Church sensed a responsibility to be a living sign of the Father’s love in the world.