fTHERThe Flame: November/December 2016
Dear Readers of The Flame,

The word Jubilee comes from the name Jubal. Jubal (Genesis 4:31) is described as "the ancestor of all who play the lyre and the reed pipe." The Jubilee Year would begin by the blowing of the ram's horn (Leviticus 25:10b), commencing a special year of favor. The Church has a tradition of a Jubilee Year every twenty-five years. However, Pope Francis called for a Special Jubilee Year of Mercy that began on December 8, 2015 and will be ending on Christ the King Sunday, November 20.

This Year of Mercy is to be a special time of encountering Jesus Christ, the Face of Mercy, as well as growing in the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. We are to become "merciful as the Father is merciful." (Luke 6:36).

I write these words about this special Jubilee Year of Mercy in its waning days to encourage you to finish this year of grace in an intentional and grace-filled manner. Perhaps you can ask yourself, "How have I experienced God's mercy this year? How have I demonstrated mercy toward others? Where do I still need to grow in mercy?" The good news is that the spigot of mercy is not turned off when the Year of Mercy ends. We are to continue to grow in the mercy and love of God, sharing that mercy with all the people we connect with. However, the special grace of a plenary indulgence (the complete remission of all temporal punishment due to sin) will end on Christ the King Sunday (November 20, 2016). Here are the requirements for this special grace:Praise
+ Pass through the doors of mercy of the pilgrimage church (St. John Cathedral or Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine).
+ Make a profession of faith in the church (either the Apostles' or Nicene Creed).
+ Pray for the pope's intentions and the pope himself.
+ Meditate on mercy while receiving Communion during a period either 20 days before or after visiting the pilgrimage church.
+ Participate in the sacrament of penance during a period either 20 days before or after visiting the pilgrimage church.

The sick and the elderly who are unable to visit a pilgrimage church may receive the same grace by doing the above things without walking through the doors of mercy, but fulfilling the other requirements. If they are unable to receive Holy Communion, they may participate in a televised or internet Mass.

As we end the Jubilee of Mercy, the charismatic renewal will be commencing a different kind of Jubilee Year. The "Duquesne Weekend Retreat" that marks the beginning of the modern charismatic renewal in the Church was in February of 1967. 2017 will be 50 years (the Jubilee Year) of experiencing the power and charisms of the Holy Spirit in a widespread way. This is a time for those who have experienced this wonderful grace to thank God as well as invite others to surrender to the Lord Jesus so that he might baptize them in the Holy Spirit.

There will be international, national and local events to celebrate this wonderful stream of grace in our time. Of local interest I would like to mention a number of upcoming events.
+ The traveling charismatic Mass in January will be at my parish, St. Peter's in North Ridgeville on Friday, January 6 at 7:00 PM.
+ Catholic Renewal Ministries will be hosting Dr. Mary Healy, a faculty member of Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, at St. Raphael Parish in Bay Village. That will be on Friday evening, January 20 at 7:00 PM. A free will offering will be taken.
+ Finally, our annual conference will be on July 14-15, 2017 at Magnificat High School.

I hope all this talk about Jubilees does not obscure the immediate holidays at hand. If there is one thing that the charismatic renewal highlights it is giving praise and thanks to God. As we approach Thanksgiving, let us express our gratitude in all circumstances, for this is the will of God for us in Christ Jesus. (I Thessalonians 5:18)

I also wish you and your loved ones a blessed and joyfilled celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, the world's true and only hope. May our celebrations proclaim Him who is Light in the darkness to all the people we see during this holy season.

Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Bob Franco
Bishop’s Delegate to Catholic Renewal Ministries