The Diocese of Parramatta has its own Mercy logo to link in with the resources that will be used across the Jubilee Year.
In order to have a symbol that could be applied to a lot of uses and printed in different ways, it was decided to design a simple logo, but one that contained plenty of meaning. And so, it picks up on key lines, shapes and concepts from both the Diocesan crest and the Jubilee logo from the Vatican.
There are a number of design features to highlight from the Diocesan Mercy logo:
It is presented within an almond shape called a mandorla (Italian for almond). If you Google mandorla religious pictures you’ll immediately see things such as Christ depicted within an almond shape. It’s an ancient concept representing the union of two circles, or more specifically, the place of intersection of seeming opposites. In Christian art, Christ has often been shown in the mandorla as this place of reconciliation and the union of heaven and earth. In the Year of Mercy, in our place of the Diocese of Parramatta, we are called to live this union as receivers and sharers of Christ’s mercy.
We are called to be agents of reconciling, enriching mercy for the world around us. The opening words of Pope Francis’ background document about the Jubilee are: Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy. And we are the face of Christ, hence the caption on the logo; mercy has a face!
Did you know…
The triangles on the Diocesan crest represent the ancient mountains bounding the diocese and the squiggles represent our local rivers? And so on the Mercy logo you’ll see the mountains with the three rivers (Parramatta, Nepean and Hawkesbury) cutting through the foreground of the Cumberland Plain.
Also notice the heart shape, formed by the outline of faces. These mirror the faces in the universal logo. In this place, the Diocese of Parramatta, the heart of grace of the cross forms us as a people, receivers of mercy, to be mercy’s face! And so the faces forming the heart are ours and they are the faces of those with whom we share God’s mercy. With our faces placed over the landforms, we are reminded that God has asked us to be stewards also of the wider creation of which we are part. In this wider creation, Pope Francis spoke of the earth in his recent encyclical as itself being amongst the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor.
Various initiatives of our Diocese for the Year of Mercy will include mercy towards the earth as an important priority. In fact, a series of prayers displayed in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta take up St Francis of Assisi’s words in referring to our planet as our sister, Mother Earth.
The highlighting of the first two letters in the caption is intentional. As together in the Year of Mercy we each give witness to our dependence on God’s mercy and grow as channels of mercy to the world, may each of us be the ME in MERCY HAS A FACE.
Receiving a Jubilee Indulgence
One of the many focuses for the Year of Mercy that some have asked about is the idea of the indulgence. The Church is a key channel through which God’s grace and favour is communicated and for this Jubilee Year, Pope Francis has encouraged us to receive indulgences. In the Church’s tradition, an indulgence is a gift of God to free us. It is given to us for the parts of our lives where sin, even though forgiven, might leave us still needing to make amends after our earthly lives.
A way of receiving the gift of the indulgence through spiritual actions is to commit to
- Visiting the place of pilgrimage and entering through the Door of Mercy
- Celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation
- Receiving the Holy Eucharist
- Praying for the Pope and in union with his intentions as we commit to living active mercy
- Making the Profession of Faith and praying the Lord’s Prayer
There’s a fuller outline of this in the Cathedral’s special prayer displays for the Year of Mercy. But in brief, to welcome the indulgence, the Catholic tradition is that you can do these actions in a one-day timeframe or spread the actions across several days. Pope Francis has commented that he wants those who are shut-in, sick or in prison to also receive gifts of God’s Jubilee indulgences via adjusted means and our diocesan chaplains and pastoral visitors will be assisting many people to do so.
More will be shared with parishes and schools about the ways Pope Francis also wants us to receive God’s loving indulgences through many actions of mercy in the world to which we are called and for which God’s grace enables us. The Year of Mercy is certainly intended for us people of the Church to receive mercy anew, but we would be a self-serving people if that was the end of the story. From our receiving, we are called to be missionaries of mercy! As Pope Francis expressed in his message for WYD Krakow 2016:
In particular, this Holy Year of Mercy is a time for the Church to rediscover the meaning of the mission entrusted to her by the Lord on the day of Easter; to be a sign and an instrument of the Father’s mercy.
Why is there a boat in the Cathedral?
A centrepiece of the Jubilee Year of Mercy symbolism in St Patrick’s Cathedral is a boat! It’s a 1910 clinker built hull in restoration that has been generously loaned to us. The scripture passage displayed in it links us to the frightened disciples in the boat on the Sea of Galilee. And this further links us to ponder the threatening and stormy realities of life for ourselves, for others and for each part of God’s creation. The Jubilee Year of Mercy announces anew God’s desire to be with us in every struggle, challenge and next step. Mercy is God’s uncompromising nature. Mercy is the shape of God’s unconditional love as it embraces suffering, shame, indignity and marginalisation. Mercy is God’s sea of love; inexhaustive; personal; cosmic; victorious; tender; ultimate!
When you enter St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta during the Year of Mercy, you will find screens with themes running that will help you enter into various expressions of the mercy story. Then, once further into the Cathedral chapel, you can begin a prayer journey by reading the scripture story displayed in the boat. As you read it, you might share from your heart with Jesus of your own story, or a story of situations or people you care about.
There is the chance to write a prayer if you wish and place it in a prayer chest in the boat. You can indicate if you’d like your prayer then to be displayed, kept private or taken for a priest of the Diocese to offer it at Mass. And then you can walk around the chapel, following a sequence of canvasses and special intentions that invite your kind participation in various special prayer intentions for mercy. The themes displayed encourage our share in God’s mission; our call to be the face of God’s mercy in the world.
Themes, images, prayers and activities will be offered through all of our Diocese’s parishes and schools as the Year of Mercy unfolds. Our Diocese’s key electronic channels will be:
www.mercyhasaface.org.au and #mercyhasaface