Jubilee of Mercy
Mercy: What was behind the door, and beyond
Compassion and acts of mercy must continue and become a part of everyone's daily lives, Pope Francis said.
"Let us commit ourselves to praying for each other so that the corporal and spiritual works of mercy increasingly become our way of life," he said Nov. 30 during his general audience in the Vatican's Paul VI hall.
The Diocese of Oakland is keeping its commitments to acts of mercy. High-profile initiatives, such as the opening of a residence for young female victims of sex trafficking in the East Bay, as well as parish-based projects are making progress.
The diocese and Catholic Charities of the East Bay, in cooperation with the Alameda County District Attorney's Office, are planning to open Claire's House in 2017. The house, at a location that cannot be disclosed to help preserve the safety of its residents, will provide services to the girls and help them continue their education.
In 2016, more than 40 parishes expressed their interest, and commitment, to welcoming the stranger, working with Catholic Charities to help refugees resettle in the Bay Area. Apartments have been filled with furniture, food and friendship. The refugees, who come to the Bay Area under the auspices of the U.S. State Department, need help navigating the Bay Area, and assists with visits to medical clinics, the DMV, Social Security offices, schools and potential employers.
Assistance to those wishing to become U.S. citizens is also available through Catholic Charities of the East Bay. Free workshops to assist those in beginning the process have been held this year. Check with the Life and Justice Office (www.oakdiocese.org/ministries-formation/life-and-justice) for events in 2017.
During the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, the Department of Faith Formation and Evangelization presented several enrichment programs in parishes. That additional work of education will be continued through the diocese's St. Francis de Sales School of Pastoral Ministry.
Although the proscribed program encompasses three years of study, people are invited to register for individual course offerings, Margaret Turek, director of faith formation and evangelization, told those in attendance at the Nov. 20 closing Mass for the jubilee year.
For information on classes that begin in early 2017, visit http://oakdiocese.org/education/evangelization/the-st.-francis-de-sales-school-for-pastoral-ministry.
Among the highlights of the year of mercy in the Diocese of Oakland was the Sept. 6 interfaith prayer for peace, which drew three internationally known faith leaders. More than 600 people attended the evening event, which ended on the cathedral plaza with the signing of a pledge for peace.
Photos of the event, and the written remarks of each of the speakers, are online at www.jubileeofmercy-eb.org/page/interfaith-meeting.
During the year, more than 6,000 pilgrims passed through the Holy Door of the Cathedral of Christ the Light. The parishes of eastern Contra Costa County brought about 800 pilgrims to the cathedral for Mass on Aug. 27. Participants, carrying banners from their churches, walked up the Pilgrim Path to enter the Holy Door.
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