(Vatican Radio) This Sunday the Holy Year of Mercy will conclude with Mass in St Peter’s Basilica and the closing of the Holy Door by Pope Francis. Holy Doors in Churches around the world have been a key feature of this Jubilee Year, not least in the Archdiocese of Perth in Australia. People throughout the year have made pilgrimages to the Cathedral there and to various parish Churches in the diocese to pray for the grace of mercy in their own lives.
According to the Auxillary Bishop of Perth, Donald Sproxton, a lot of emphasis has been put on education and reflection in order to give people including the youth of the diocese the opportunity to show mercy in their relationships, and their work.
Listen to Lydia O’Kane’s interview with Auxillary Bishop of Perth, Donald Sproxton
Bishop Sproxton also highlighted the numbers of people who have been receiving the sacrament of reconciliation saying, “the numbers of people coming to confession has increased enormously in this last twelve months.”
The Bishop said that a number of initiatives have developed out of the Year of Mercy and volunteers have been out in force helping social service agencies in their work. They have been, “visiting prisons, encouraging those who have already been providing meals for the poor”.
Another area where the Church has been working, noted the Auxillary Bishop, is advocating for the Aboriginal people, for example, “trying to get them back into housing.” He said, that “they are excited in a sense that this Year of Mercy has meant there’s a possibility of more engagement with the other ethnic groups particularly the Anglo Saxon groups here in the diocese.”
As the curtain comes down on this Extraordinary Year, there is the hope that it will have long term effects on the faithful around the world. Bishop Sproxton said that in his diocese those long term effects, “will be seen in actions at local parish communities”, and people he added, will “keep working at lifting people out of poverty and assisting them to find dignity in their life again.”