My column that appears in this weekend’s print edition of The Catholic Post, and here in just a few days, essentially involves me admitting I haven’t made any plans for the Year of Mercy.
My column does offer books that relate to it, but for me, writing that column prompted me to take a minute to “get with it” and make some plans and modest goals for living out this tremendous year. And it’s well-known that writing plans down makes them more likely to be achieved. In addition, I will be glad to have a place to capture all of my thoughts, important links, and other notes. So here goes:
The Divine Mercy Chaplet: I’m not sure if this is ironic or something else, but one of my first thoughts was when I heard about the Year of Mercy, was “I’m going to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet every single day of the year.” That may seem like an ambitious plan, but really, I end up saying it more days that not. Making it an explicit goal should help me be sure to do it every day, right?
Here’s the ironic/funny part: I’ve barely said it (maybe twice?) since the Year of Mercy started last week. So I’m laughing at myself (in mercy? see how I did that?), and also resolving to find a regular time that I can pray the Chaplet. I’ve loved this prayer for at least 18 years, I’m pretty sure since my oldest was a baby. Praying it as much as possible this year is doubtless a good idea.
As many people know, I am a big user of apps for prayers and novenas. I find most of the Divine Mercy chaplet apps fairly annoying, including the “official” one. App developers, get rid of the sound effects, or give us the opportunity to in settings, already. This is a very simple and effective one for iOs I’ve discovered recently.
Looking for Mercy: Here is the Vatican document, called “Misericordiae Vultus,” which released on Divine Mercy Sunday (the Second Sunday of Easter) this year to announce and prepare for the Year of Mercy. Just glancing at it, though, makes me want to read the entire thing, more slowly, to get a sense of what the year is meant to be for people and the Church.
Pope Francis’ Prayer for the Year of Mercy: Pope Francis composed a prayer for the Year of Mercy. Our family will try to pray this prayer, perhaps in advance of saying night prayer. I’ve already formatted it nicely in a document–perhaps I will try to put it in an edit. Another modest goal.
Pinterest Board: It occurred to me that a good way to capture articles and ideas for the Year of Mercy is to create a board on Pinterest. I’ve begun that (and will pin much of what I’m gathering here), but what I really need to do is just keep coming back to the Year of Mercy board created by local blogger Katie Bogner. Here is just one of her blog posts about celebrating the Year of Mercy, but her board includes resources from all over the Web.
Visiting Pilgrimage Churches and Chapels: The Diocese of Peoria website has a “mercy” page with Bishop Jenky’s Festival Letter, as well as a list and photos of all the churches and chapels designated as “pilgrimage” sites. I thought it would be a great way to celebrate the year as a family to try to get to all those sites sometime during the year, and walk through the doors of mercy in all those locations. Wouldn’t it be great to get to Rome to go through the Jubilee Door in the Vatican? In lieu of that, visiting the local sites ( or looking into ones places we travel this year) would be a great way to keep mercy in mind.
Living the Year of Mercy in the Family: Marcia, another local blogger and dear friend, has compiled a list of ideas for living the Year of Mercy in the family. I love the idea here of “virtually” visiting the Divine Mercy Shrine in Poland, and many other ideas here.
Confession: Confession seems to me the most important sacrament this year. So perhaps working on not just going to Confession more often, but trying to make better confessions. Related here would be trying to be more merciful and forgiving to others and myself.
I know I will come up with many more ways to celebrate and mark this Year of Mercy. You’ll notice that I’m not listing a lot of books. I read so much as it is, and I want to be sure to try things that can involve more than just me, or allow me to reflect on the year. What I will do is create a shelf on my GoodReads for the Year of Mercy, and add books to it as time goes on. Suggestions welcome!
What are some of your ideas for the Year of Mercy? What do you have planned?
I will update this post with any other ideas I have, and I’d love to hear (and perhaps add!) yours. If you’d like to be added as a collaborator on the “Year of Mercy” Pinterest board, please let me know, or send me a message on Pinterest. I’d love for it to be a group board with lots of ideas.