The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Holy Year of Mercy

Pope Francis announced an extraordinary jubilee, a Holy Year of Mercy, to be celebrated from Dec. 8, 2015, until Nov. 20, 2016.

A holy year is traditionally a year of forgiveness of sins and also for the punishment for one’s sins. It is also a year for reconciliation between enemies, conversion and confessing sins.

Doors of mercy will be opened in Rome and worldwide, including the Diocese of Little Rock. The doors are only opened during jubilee years so that pilgrims can enter through them in order to gain a plenary indulgence during the jubilee year.

Find resources for the Holy Year of Mercy by visiting


Spiritual work of mercy: 'Instruct the ignorant'

By Daniel S. Mulhall, Published: June 9, 2016   

The spiritual work of mercy “to instruct the ignorant” is solidly grounded in the New Testament. The foundation for this teaching is found in Matthew 28: 19-20 when Jesus sent his disciples out to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” This command flows directly from Jesus’ life and ministry. For More... 

Seventh corporal work of mercy: Bury the dead

By Daniel S. Mulhall, Published: May 10, 2016   

Of the seven corporal works of mercy, only one is not found in Matthew 25:31-46: bury the dead. Why then is it included as one of the works of mercy? Proper burial of the dead was an important practice in Israel from its earliest days. A common practice was to prepare the body for burial with ointments and spices, and then to wrap the body in a linen cloth before laying it in a tomb, as was done with Jesus (John More... 

Sixth corporal work of mercy: Visiting the imprisoned

By Marge Fenelon, Published: April 30, 2016   

During this Year of Mercy instituted by Pope Francis, we’re called to become extensions of God’s mercy to others, particularly through the spiritual and corporal works of mercy — acts of charity and love toward others. But one corporal work of mercy may prove a bit more challenging to carry out — visiting the imprisoned. How are we supposed to visit the imprisoned? No doubt, it’s important to visit prisoners. They need and deserve Christian love and More... 

Healing, caring for the sick an important work of mercy

By Mike Nelson, Published: April 19, 2016   

Some of Jesus’ final words to his disciples help form the foundation of our corporal works of mercy — including “[I was] ill and you cared for me” (Matthew 25:36). But let us also recall Jesus’ words much earlier, in his commissioning of the disciples (Matthew 10:7-8): “Cure the sick. ... Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” Though “caring for the sick” is not the same as “curing the sick,” there is More... 

Fourth corporal work of mercy: Shelter the homeless

By Daniel S. Mulhall, Published: April 12, 2016   

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (No. 2447) states that one of the corporal works of mercy is “sheltering the homeless.” The Gospel of Matthew, from where the works of mercy are taken, says that those who are “blessed by my Father” are those who welcome the stranger. While the wording here is somewhat different, the meaning is clear: Believers are called to provide shelter for those in need, especially those who are refugees. Judaism identifies strongly More... 

Third corporal work of mercy: Clothing the naked

By Mike Nelson, Published: April 1, 2016   

Before Jesus began teaching about mercy, and sharing with and caring for our neighbor, his cousin John the Baptist was making the same point to all who would listen. “Whoever has two tunics,” John said, “should share with the person who has none” (Luke 3:11). For me, that teaching brings to mind the old joke in TV comedy, in which a frazzled woman flings open her closet, surveys her wardrobe — an inventory equal to that of More... 

Clean water rare in parts of the world, but so vital

By Rebecca Cargile , Published: March 29, 2016   

Water maintains an important symbolic role in Judeo-Christian Scripture, theology and sacrament, largely because our faith arose in a land where water was particularly scarce. For much of the world, that situation is their daily reality, with access and rights to life-giving water severely limited. Nothing is as essential to survival as water. Such is the importance of water in our physical and spiritual lives that the Church places among the corporal works of mercy: “To give drink to the thirsty.” We More... 

First corporal work of mercy: ‘For I was hungry ...’

By Daniel S. Mulhall, Published: March 19, 2016   

Feeding the hungry is one of the corporal works of mercy. This teaching of Jesus comes from the Gospel of Matthew 25:35 where, in a parable, Jesus says, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink.” The responsibility to provide food and drink for those in need is found throughout the Old and New Testaments. For example, in Deuteronomy 15:11, God instructs the Israelites to share freely More... 

Mercy is presented to us in the flesh at every Mass

By Father John Marconi, Published: March 3, 2016   

Being attentive to the word mercy in this Year of Mercy has given me a deeper awareness of God’s gift of himself at each Mass. At each celebration we encounter mercy himself. We are a blessed people to have God’s great outpouring of love in the Eucharist. We get to hold mercy in our hands and take him into hearts. As we reflect upon this precious gift of God in this Year of Mercy the continual More... 

Why indulgence is important during jubilee year

By Father Josh Stengel , Published: February 26, 2016   

During the Jubilee Year of Mercy, we are called to reflect on and experience the abundance of God’s love and mercy. The theme for the jubilee year is “Merciful like the Father” for the Father’s merciful love for us is generous and indulgent, as in the parable of the Prodigal Son. Pope Francis’ desire for this Holy Year is “that the jubilee be a living experience of the closeness of the Father, whose tenderness is almost More... 

Forgiveness can fix flat tires, rusty nails in our faith

By Diane Bausom, Published: February 22, 2016   

“Looks like you picked up a nail somewhere.” Nails in tires cause problems; so do nails of unforgiveness in our hearts. Flat tires can be repaired; broken hearts can be healed. Flat tires don’t fix themselves. Forgiveness doesn’t just happen; it’s a process. I can watch someone change a flat, but I learn better by doing it myself. The same can be said for forgiving. We all know we need to forgive, but knowing it and doing it More... 

Pope: All are called as missionaries to share Gospel

By Junno Arocho Esteves , Published: February 8, 2016   

VATICAN CITY — Mercy and mission have a close relationship that calls all Christians to be missionaries who share the joy of the Gospel without trying to force others to believe, Pope Francis said. The joy that comes from conveying God’s love and mercy is “the concrete sign that we have met Jesus,” the pope said during his first jubilee audience Jan. 30. However, he added, “this does not mean proselytizing. This is making a gift: More... 

Confession preparation begins before entering church

By Kyle Zinno, Published: February 2, 2016   

It did not take long after I was asked to write a short article on the topic of “preparing for confession” that I began to reflect on the irony of the request. The thought that someone who often suffers from an over-scrupulous conscience should share with others about preparing for the sacrament of reconciliation certainly left me smiling a bit. Nevertheless, God often chooses the “foolish” and the “weak of the world” (1 Corinthians 1:27), and More... 

God’s presence, mercy felt deeply in confessional

By Father Robert Cigainero, Published: January 16, 2016   

When we think of mercy, we think of the unfathomable love, compassion and forgiveness of Jesus. When we think of those three things, we automatically think about the sacrament of confession. Through this wonderful sacrament we, in fact, come in contact with Jesus Christ himself as he bestows on us wonderful graces and heals our wounded souls. So with all of this, it is truly an honor, as a priest, to sit in the person of More... 

Year of Mercy encourages walking a spiritual path

By Father John Marconi, Published: January 11, 2016   

Many of us have been on pilgrimages. I have been blessed to travel on a sacred journey to the Holy Land, Rome and many Marian shrines. These sacred trips are blessed and grace-filled. They open our hearts to encounter God. Being a tourist or taking a vacation is nice and needed at times; however, it is not a pilgrimage. This year of mercy is an invitation for all of us to be on a special More... 

Pope Francis’ example of mercy is real, encouraging

By Father Erik Pohlmeier, Published: December 19, 2015   

Pope Francis can be found regularly in the pages and photos of news reports around the world. On Dec. 8 the images showed him pushing open the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica. As he stepped through to start the Year of Mercy his invitation was clear and echoes the call of Jesus: “Come, follow me.” Many commentators have speculated on the appeal of Pope Francis since his election. There is no denying his popularity, and More... 

Understanding why the pope declared a Year of Mercy

By Father John Marconi, Published: December 8, 2015   

The Holy Father Pope Francis has chosen a theme for the jubilee year that is close to his heart: mercy. He announced an extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy from Dec. 8, 2015 to Nov. 20, 2016.  “Dear brothers and sisters, I have thought about how the Church can make clear its mission of being a witness of mercy,” he said. “It’s a journey that starts with a spiritual conversion. For this reason I have decided to declare More... 

Holy Year reminds Arkansans to give and receive mercy

By Malea Hargett, Published: November 24, 2015   

Doors of Mercy and other devotions will be appearing in the Diocese of Little Rock beginning Dec. 8 to mark the Year of Mercy. The extraordinary jubilee year will continue through Nov. 20, 2016. “There is mercy and there is divine mercy. There’s God’s mercy and there is regular mercy,” said Father John Marconi, pastor of St. Joseph Church in Conway and Year of Mercy Committee chairman. “The legal term of mercy is showing forgiveness when someone doesn’t deserve More...