Dear Parish Family,Fr. Chas

With Pope Francis’ opening of the Holy Doors on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy has commenced!  What all of this entails will be explained throughout the year in homilies, bulletin articles and faith formation events.  What is our Holy Father Francis’ hope for this year that goes until the Feast of Christ the King on November 20, 2016?  In his papal Bull of Indiction proclaiming this special jubilee, Pope Francis clearly expressed his hope:   

“How much I desire that the year to come will be steeped in mercy, so that we can go out to every man and woman, bringing the goodness and tenderness of God!  May the balm of mercy reach everyone, both believers and those far away, as a sign that the Kingdom of God is already present in our midst!”

In other words, Pope Francis and of course the Lord Jesus himself want you to be agents of God’s
mercy!  Mercy is the concrete expression of God’s love, goodness, and tenderness for a fallen
humanity, which he desires to forgive and raise up to the dignity of sons and daughters of God!  The most concrete expression of that mercy is God himself come among us in the person of Jesus Christ.  And the concrete expression of Jesus in the world today is the members of his Body.  For the Jackson community, that is you and me.  You are the face of God’s mercy!

That can seem like a daunting task!  And it is!  But nothing is impossible for God.  He simply needs us to open our lives to him and allow him to shape and mold us into our truest identity, which is made in the image and likeness of himself.  With that, I hope you take advantage of the various faith formation opportunities that we have in the parish that cultivate that life of the Lord in our own lives.  For example, we have just started Catholicism 101, held each Wednesday night (except for Christmas break, Dec. 23 and 30).

Christmas Appeal
As a follow up to the homily last Sunday on the fifth precept of the Church, you’ll be receiving a letter in the mail summarizing a few of the points I mentioned.  The whole homily can be listened to on our website, along with the homilies on the other four precepts.  Please be generous in your end-of-the-year contribution to St. John.  As we get inundated with appeals from all over the world during this time of the year, please don’t forget your spiritual family that builds up God’s Kingdom right here in Jackson.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Chas