In a recently published interview, Pope Francis described the quality of mercy as the most important message that Jesus gave.
In the sermon on the Mount, Jesus told us “blessed are the merciful for they shall have mercy shown them”.
Mercy should not be confined to the virtuous but to all who espouse God’s love and forgiveness, despite their own human frailties.
The jubilee year of mercy began on December 8, and continues until November 2016.
It is an opportunity, says Pope Francis, for the church at large, its people, not its infrastructure, to get out of their comfortable church buildings and take the message of Christ in all its fullness directly to those most in need of it, especially the poor, the marginalised and the under-privileged.
Pope Francis himself is no stranger to poverty and deprivations, spending time as the Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires in ministering to the people of the vast shanty towns and the slums of that area.
As Pope, he declined to live in the grand papal apartments of the Vatican, preferring instead a simple room in a church hostel.
St Norbert’s Church will continue to try to take up the Pope’s challenge by offering mercy and friendship to all who feel out of touch with the message of Christ.
A parish pilgrimage to Walsingham in Norfolk will take place on Saturday, May 21.
This ancient shrine of Mary, the mother of God, visited by pilgrims since the middle of the 11th century, has recently been raised to the status of a Minor Basilica.
In addition to this and other parish events, the sacrament of reconciliation will always be readily available to all seeking God’s mercy and forgiveness.