Extraordinary jubilee year will run from Dec. 8, 2015 to Nov. 20, 2016
While presiding over a Lenten service with focus on the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Eucharistic Adoration, Pope Francis announced that the Church would be observing an "extraordinary jubilee...Holy Year of Mercy."
"I have thought about how the Church can make clear its mission of being a witness of mercy," the pope said during his homily at St. Peter's Basilica. "It's a journey that starts with a spiritual conversion."
For this reason, the pope said, he has called for this special year, which will have the theme: 'Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful' (cf Lk 6:36)."
"We want to live this year in the light of the Lord's words," he said.
Beginning on Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, and running through Nov. 20, 2016, the feast of Christ the King, the year will be organized by the Pontifical Council for Promotion of the New Evangelization, the pope said.
"I am convinced that the whole Church will find in this Jubilee the joy needed to rediscover and make fruitful the mercy of God, with which all of us are called to give consolation to every man and woman of our time," he said. "From this moment, we entrust this Holy Year to the Mother of Mercy, that she might turn her gaze upon us and watch over our journey."
For the entire text of the pope's homily, go here.