Diocesan celebrations for the closing of the Holy Year of Mercy

By Father Jon-Paul Gallant
Diocesan director of the Worship Office

FALL RIVER, Mass. — The Diocese of Fall River will join with Catholic dioceses throughout the world to celebrate the conclusion of the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy on November 13 and in solidarity with the Holy Father, Pope Francis, on November 20, the Solemnity of Jesus Christ the King.

 At the opening of the Holy Year, the Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., of Fall River, designated several locations throughout the Fall River Diocese as “Portals of Mercy,” where local pilgrims could obtain the plenary indulgence of the Holy Year. 

These locations are: the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette in Attleboro; Corpus Christi Parish in East Sandwich and Holy Trinity Parish in West Harwich on Cape Cod; Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in New Bedford; and St. Mary’s Parish in Taunton. Each of these locations will conclude the Holy Year of Mercy with celebrations of the Holy Mass on November 13. Those wishing to participate may contact the local parishes directly for Mass times.

In union with the closing ceremony at St. Peter’s in Rome presided over by Pope Francis, the diocese will celebrate the official close of the Holy Year on November 20 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fall River. The 3 p.m. ceremony will draw priests, religious and laity from throughout the diocese for the annual Marian Medal Awards ceremony. In the context of the Evening Prayer of the Church and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, Bishop da Cunha will lead the participants through the “Holy Doors” of the cathedral for the final time. The date marks the Solemnity of Christ the King, the last Sunday of the Liturgical year and the close of the Year of Mercy. 

The theme of this extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy has been “Merciful like the Father.” For just as we seek the merciful forgiveness of our Heavenly Father, so we too are called to show mercy to each other. The Holy Year has been a call to reflect not only on our own need for forgiveness but also to reflect that forgiving love to all our brothers and sisters. 

It is a message which the participants in the cathedral ceremony will be reminded of at the final dismissal: “Be merciful, just as your Heavenly Father is merciful. Go in peace.” To which we may all join in responding: “Thanks be to God!”

© 2019 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing    †    Fall River, Massachusetts