The Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon OP, Archbishop of Liverpool, will inaugurate the Holy Year of Mercy called by Pope Francis with Mass in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King on Sunday 6 December at 3pm.
The Jubilee Year of Mercy begins on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, 8 December 2015, and concludes on Sunday 20 November 2016, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Jubilee years are special years called by the Church and the last one, The Great Jubilee, was held in 2000 during the papacy of Pope John Paul II.
Pope Francis will open a Holy Door of Mercy in Rome through which those who enter can experience the love of God who consoles, pardons and instills hope. During Sunday's Mass Archbishop Malcolm will bless and open the Metropolitan Cathedral's own Door of Mercy. In the coming year the Cathedral will be a place of pilgrimage with 'Stations of Mercy' for pilgrims to visit, focusing on the forgiveness and mercy of God; moreover, deanery groups are scheduled to make pilgrimages to the Cathedral on Saturdays throughout the year.
In a Pastoral Letter to the people of the Archdiocese, Archbishop Malcolm says, "I sometimes meet people who feel light years away from God. There are many reasons why. Some of them imagine God is so remote that He could not possibly be interested in us. Like most of your priests, I have been really sad to hear people say that God has no room for them because of something bad they have done. So many people are thoroughly convinced they are beyond redemption.
"Christmas says that is not true. Saint Anselm asked, 'Why did God become man?' My answer is simple – it is because we matter. And that means all of us, each and every one of us. Pope Francis has given us a fantastic Christmas present by asking us to focus on how merciful God is. He wants every sinner to feel at home in God's house."
Two other churches in the Archdiocese will be open as Jubilee Churches for individual pilgrimages: Holy Cross in St Helens and St Mary’s in Leyland, and they are available for those who cannot travel to the Cathedral but who would still like to make a pilgrimage. They will have their own Doors of Mercy and Archbishop Malcolm will bless and open them on Tuesday 8 December, with Mass at 12.15pm in St Helens and 7.30pm in Leyland.