As part of the Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis has announced several special events, including a Jubilee for Deacons to be held in Rome from Friday May 27 to Sunday May 29, 2016. A delegation of 20 deacons and their families will travel to Rome and represent the Diocese of Orlando.
During this special pilgrimage the deacons and their families will visit all four papal basilicas: Saint Paul, Saint Mary Major, Saint Peter, and the Cathedral Church Saint John Lateran. The group will also visit the catacombs, The Pantheon, the Colosseum, and make a special visit to Assisi see the relics of Saint Francis who was a deacon.
The highlight of this pilgrimage is the three days from May 27-29 which focus on the vocation of the diaconate. On Friday the deacons and their families will hear the keynote address titled “Deacon: Icon of Mercy of the New Evangelization.” This presentation will discuss the application of the deacon as the icon of mercy in the family, in the parish and in the workplace. On Saturday there will be opportunities for Eucharistic adoration, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, tours of the seven churches of St. Lawrence and a special walk through the Holy Doors at St. Peter’s Basilica to hear official catechesis on the subject: “The Deacon: Called to the Service of Charity in the Life of the Community.” Culminating this special three days will be the Papal Mass on Sunday with Pope Francis where the deacons will be present and vested together with a special stole gifted by the Holy Father for the Jubilee of Mercy and this liturgy.
“The motto of the Holy Year, Merciful Like the Father, which is taken from the Gospel of Luke, serves as an invitation to follow the merciful example of the Father who asks us not to judge or condemn but to forgive and to give love and forgiveness without measure,” said Deacon Jerry Hempstead from Good Shepherd Parish and who is organizing the pilgrimage for the Diocese of Orlando. “Such a global convocation of deacons, men who by their vocation and ministry are closely associated with works of charity in the in the life of the Christian community, will serve to give witness to all that ‘mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life’ (Pope Francis, Misericordiae vultus 10).”