Catholic Accent The Thursday, April 23, 2015 Volume 54, No. 24 On the Journey of a Lifetime with the people of the Diocese of Greensburg, Pa. Spring ... creation is renewed The splendor of spring is in full bloom at St. John the Baptist Parish, Scottdale, April 16. Mary Seamans/The Catholic Accent Pope: Year of Mercy will be time to heal, to help, to forgive By Cindy Wooden CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE VATICAN CITY — Mercy is what makes God perfect and all-powerful, Pope Francis said in his document officially proclaiming the 2015-16 ex-traordinary Holy Year of Mercy. “If God limited himself to only jus-tice, he would cease to be God, and would instead be like human beings who ask merely that the law be re-spected,” the pope wrote in “Miseri-cordiae Vultus,” (“The Face of Mercy”), which is the “bull of indiction” calling a Holy Year to begin Dec. 8. Standing in front of the Holy Door ADDRESS LABEL of St. Peter’s Basilica April 11, Pope Francis handed copies of the document to the archpriests of the major basilicas of Rome and to Vatican officials repre-senting Catholics around the world. Portions of the 9,300-word procla-mation were read aloud before Pope Francis and his aides processed into St. Peter’s Basilica to celebrate the first vespers of Divine Mercy Sunday. In his homily at vespers, the pope said he proclaimed the Year of Mercy because “it is the favorable time to heal wounds, a time not to be weary of meeting all those who are waiting to see and touch with their hands the signs of the closeness of God, a time to offer everyone the way of forgiveness and reconciliation.” The boundless nature of God’s mercy — his willingness always to forgive anything — has been a constant sub-ject of Pope Francis’ preaching and is explained in detail in the document, which outlines some of the specific projects the pope has in mind for the year. The Old Testament stories of how God repeatedly offered mercy to his unfaithful people and the New Testa-ment stories of Jesus’ compassion, healing and mercy demonstrate, the pope said, that “the mercy of God is not an abstract idea, but a concrete reality through which he reveals his love,” just like mothers and fathers love their children. “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,” he wrote. “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.” Nothing in the church’s preaching or witness, he said, can be lacking in mercy. Pope Francis asked that all dioceses Continued on page 16 INSIDE THIS ISSUE Pages 8-9 A look at the Acts of the Apostles Page 5 Page 6 Couples enrich marriages in parishes’ ‘Not-So-Newlywed Game.’ Churches throughout the diocese hold a wealth of historical significance.