On 15th November, Pope Francis greeted a large group of Dutch Pilgrims in St Peters Basilica. The group was made up of representatives of the Dutch Association of Catholic Organisations, who had come to Rome to take part in the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
The group was accompanied by the Archbishop of Utrecht, Cardinal Wilem Eijk. The Cardinal had originally asked for Pope to be the celebrant of a Mass for the group. Although that wasn’t possible, the Pope joined the group at the end of the ceremony and greeted them. Cardinal Eijk also took the opportunity to present the Pope with a new book entitled “A Welcoming Netherlands.” The book describes the works undertaken by many Catholic projects in the Netherlands, in response to the Pope calling the Year of Mercy. The Dutch Bishops Conference will also be distributing copies of the book to all Dutch parishes, as a witness and encouragement to mercy.
In his address, Pope Francis described the Year of Mercy as an opportunity to “enter even further into relationship with Jesus Christ, who is the face of the merciful Father.”
Speaking of the need to experience the Father’s mercy in Confession, the Pope reminded the group that “We never get used to this great mystery of God’s love. It is the source of our salvation. We all need divine mercy; it saves us, gives us life, and recreates us as true sons and daughters of God. And we experience the saving goodness of God in a special way in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. Confession is where you receive the gift of forgiveness and mercy of God. Here begins the transformation of each of us and the reform of the Church’s life.”
After calling on the group to be channels of mercy, in order to help quench mankind’s thirst for God, the Pope asked them all to pray for him.