Year of Mission and Mercy 2016

As we near the 50th anniversary of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit we call the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, 2016 is designated a Year of Mission in Mercy. We do so in recognition of the Holy Father’s call for a special Holy Year of Mercy, December 8, 2015 – November 20, 2016. It is a way for the Church, he said, to “make more evident its mission to be a witness of mercy.”

In his Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, the Holy Father refers to this year as “an extraordinary time of grace.” (5) “In the present day, as the Church is charged with the task of the new evangelization, the theme of mercy needs to be proposed again and again with new enthusiasm and renewed pastoral action.” (12) “In this Jubilee Year, let us allow God to surprise us. He never tires of throwing open the doors of his heart and repeats that he loves us and wants to share his love with us. The Church feels the urgent need to proclaim God’s mercy. Her life is authentic and credible only when she becomes a convincing herald of mercy.” (25)

The Year of Mission in Mercy has four emphases:

Renew Our Zeal for Souls

Pope Francis’ call to mercy perfectly coincides with the call to mission. For us to go out with a missionary zeal requires us to move beyond our comfort zones. If we do not care enough, we will be complacent. We must have a change of heart before we will muster a change of action. “Jesus asks us also to forgive and to give. To be instruments of mercy because it was we who first received mercy from God.” (MV, 14) We must have a hunger for souls. We must remember that the lost are lost, the blind are blind, and the confused are confused. It is here that mercy and mission meet. In 2016 may Jesus fill our hearts with mercy so that we will go out proclaiming the love of the Father, the Lordship of Jesus, and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.

Promote Life in the Spirit Seminars

The greatest tool we have for evangelization in the Renewal is the “Life in the Spirit Seminars” (or other introductions to being baptized in the Holy Spirit and life the Spirit). In this Year, we encourage Prayer Groups, Renewal Centers, and Parishes to offer and promote the seven-week or longer versions.

Great speakers are not needed as much as someone to simply tell their story in relationship to the topic of the talk. There are also several DVD series now available that have all the talks recorded. These are a very good resource. The real work of the Seminar is in the “small groups” where people begin to share their lives and experiences. Through the leaders and other members, all are encouraged on their faith journey as they begin to understand what a “life fed by the Spirit” can look like.

A personal invitation to attend a Seminar is always the best. For many people, this type of event is the perfect “next step” on their faith journey.

Promote the New Evangelization

The fields, as Jesus said, are “already ready for harvest.” (Jn. 4:35). They include:

  1. Catholics who have been sacramentalized but do not have a living relationship with Jesus;
  2. Within countries that were “Christian” but have populations of people who do not know the Lord Jesus;
  3. Going out to peoples who do not know the saving Gospel of Jesus.

Recently Pope Francis, in his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, urges all members of the Church to “take the first step, become involved, accompany, bear fruit and celebrate.” His emphases of “going out to the peripheries,” “smelling like the sheep,” and “acting in mercy, especially to the poor and marginalized,” are moving throughout the Church.

Promote a Culture of Pentecost

Baptism in the Holy Spirit, the grace of Pentecost, is a call to discipleship and mission. We are to be witnesses and we are to be in mission.

Our mission includes bringing to “life that ‘culture of Pentecost’ that alone can make fruitful the civilization of love and friendly co-existence among peoples,” as Pope John Paul II encouraged us in 2002, and Pope Benedict echoed. For the two Popes, “culture” is certainly more than prayer meetings or even other religious activities. It embraces all that the Church is! Pentecost is to be a living, experienced realty within the Church “where the Holy Spirit is known, loved and frequently invoked; where the whole way of life flows from the active presence of the Spirit and his gifts.” (ICCRS Baptism in the Holy Spirit, p93).

Promote a culture of Pentecost in these ways:

  • Live Pentecost in our daily lives. Never tire of praying, Come Holy Spirit! Come! Come!
  • Proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the love of the Father, and the Person, presence and power of the Holy Spirit so that others may also experience a renewal of the grace of Pentecost personally and communally.
  • Teach about this dimension of the call to mission and challenge all to see the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our day in new and deeper ways.

“The Spirit is within every one who wishes to be helped to open wide the door to make him flourish again. May the Lord accompany you in this mission, always with the Bible in hand, always with the Gospel in your pocket, with the Word of Christ.” (Pope Francis, Italian Nat’l Convention, July 2015)

 

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