Holy doors opened worldwide this month to begin the Year of Mercy, and in the United States, an abundance of events, observances, services, and pilgrimages are planned all year to commemorate it.
In Lafayette, Louisiana, an ambulance transformed into a mobile confessional named "Spiritual Care Unit," was blessed by the bishop and designed to "give greater access and availability of the sacrament to those who may have been away for some time," said Community of Jesus Crucified Father Michael Champagne. "We have already experienced persons who were away for decades from the sacrament returning home."
In Dubuque, Iowa, local parishes will perform one corporal work of mercy for seven weeks.
In New Ulm, Minnesota, the Church of St. Mary will host a workshop on human trafficking, and the diocese will encourage the corporal work of visiting the imprisoned.
The New Orleans archdiocese is heeding Pope Francis' call for mercy toward those who have had abortions and is providing healing and support through counseling.
Ecology is the focus of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development, and it has organized a Catholic social ministry gathering, "Called to Live Mercy in Our Common Home," in Washington, D.C., Jan. 23-26.
Pilgrimages in many individual dioceses are also among the celebrations of this holy year.
Read the full article from the National Catholic Reporter here.