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“Mercy is the heart of the Gospel and the Extraordinary Jubilee proclaimed by Pope Francis on the theme of Mercy brought it back to the center of the life of Christians, after that for too long remained on the sidelines, as an appendix, as one of many values of Christian existence. And ‘this is the real, big meaning of the Holy Year that today ,on Sunday the Holy Father solemnly end in Piazza S. Pietro “.

President of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, Archbishop Rino Fisichella was the great event director who is about to close its doors, the prelate that Pope Francis wanted to command, naming him president of the organizing committee. After a year of intense work, who lived between the commitments of his ministry and the supervision of the jubilee program, Fisichella makes a first analysis and his judgment is positive, although talk of final budgets is perhaps still premature.

Understandable prudence even in the face of so many “things” that occurred in the life of the Catholic Church, in a period of time in just under 12 months attracted to Rome and the Vatican more than 21 million faithful from around the world, to which – said the monsignor – “should be added the pilgrims for the first time celebrated the Jubilee in every diocese, in large and small sanctuaries, even prisons and hospitals through Holy Doors, such as, for example, that of Charity open to the Caritas hostel in Rome in Marsala street, near Termini Station, or the Holy Doors open in the Roman prisons”. Without forgetting the first Holy Door opened by Pope Bergoglio in Central Africa, even before that of St. Peter’s Basilica that today will be solemnly closed after the Pontiff will have signed the Apostolic Letter “Misericordia et Misera” (The Mercy and poverty ) that, on Monday morning it will be officially presented by Monsignor Fisichella in the Vatican press office.

However, there are critical voices and some commentators even talk of a Jubilee of Mercy that would make flop. Monsignor Fisichella,what’s your answer about it?
“Judge a Holy Year only through the lens of the digits is simplistic and misleading. It is even more so if you want to judge a particular event such as the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. Beyond the numbers, I believe this Holy Year let the great joy primarily caused by putting Mercy in the center of the Church’s life. Mercy is first and foremost a source of joy and in such a powerful moment of uncertainty, insecurity, not knowing what will be the future, to have the certainty of Christian hope with which God comes to meet us and never leaves you alone, but he gives the consolation of his presence and of his closeness, I think it is something that will remain for a long time in people’s hearts. ”

 Is there a particular event of this Jubilee, reached the end, destined to remain in world history, but especially in the hearts of the people, beyond their own religions, faiths, political orientations, nationalities?                                           “The faces of Mercy, as we know, are so many, you can not count them. I would say that the most visible signs of this testimony merciful emerged during the Holy Year are those that somehow have become tangible in the ‘Mercy’ Friday. Pope Francis, in fact, wanted to give the signs, however, are signs that have touched new poverty: I think the Pope visiting the people, even young people, who live in a vegetative state and that society rejects them, it doesn’t want  to know of their existence;

But in the jubilee meeting of the Misericordia Friday one, in particular, has affected believers and non-believers, the visit to seven families of ex-priests who, for various reasons, have left the priesthood. You, Monsignor Fisichella, as always in this circumstance was beside the Pope. What did you feel to see seven of his former brothers with their wives and their children to encounter Bergoglio to be greeted, consulates, as a father reaches out to their children?                               “It ‘was a beautiful thing and moving. Difficult to tell with the right words. A moment of intimacy, of great tenderness that the pope wanted to live next to our brothers, once priests, who now have formed families and fathered children. It ‘was a concrete sign of a Church that does not exclude anyone. The true sign of a high Misericordia that hugs any person, even those who, like former priests, were once kept at the margins of the Church’s life. The Pope went to meet them just like a father went close to his children. An indelible sign of the Jubilee “.

In addition to the Friday of Mercy, are there other significant moments of the Jubilee?
“The attention to the poor, the excluded, the imprisoned, the sick with their Jubilee days. How not to be affected by the Jubilee of the poor and the excluded who practically concluded the program of the major events in San Pietro. And then, the day the prisoners with more than a thousand prisoners coming on leave from the major Italian prisons. Prisoners who have served Mass with the Pope, who read passages of Holy Scripture and they say words of forgiveness even to those who had killed them a family member a friend. Prophetic gestures next to the most suffering, the sick who accompanied from Unitalsi celebrated the Jubilee in over 50,000. Not, however, forget the canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the holy of the latest. But between the gestures destined to make history should not be forgotten moments with strong ecumenical impact ”

An example?
“The meeting in Cuba with the Patriarch of Moscow Kirill, the first after nearly a thousand years of schism. As well as the celebration in Sweden for 500 years of Lutheranism, two historical and revolutionary actions at the level of ecumenical relations both with orthodoxy and with Protestantism. Meetings that will certainly contribute to healing the wounds of the divisions of the body of the Church in the wake of Vatican II and the thrust of the work of the Holy Spirit, as he also confided Pope Francis to the newspaper Avvenire. Jubilee gestures and signs that escape any numerical analysis because pertain to the values of faiththat as is easily understood, can not be embedded in a web of numerical calculations, percentages and mathematical comparisons. ”

But, about numbers, there are those who complain that in the Great Jubilee of 2000 pilgrims were more than 30 million. Almost ten million more than the Jubilee of Mercy.
“It’s wrong to make these comparisons. The Jubilee of 2000, after 5 years of preparation, under the guidance of St. John Paul II carried the Church into the third millennium.The Jubilee of Mercy, who had only a few months of preparation, has placed man, especially the most needy, the universal focus of attention, and moreover in a time almost tragic conditioned by Islam terrorists attack, all kinds of violence, oppression, wars, which have generated fears, probably have not favored the move. Yet in Rome they have received more than 21 million pilgrims to which must be added the pilgrims celebrated the Jubilee at the peripherals Holy Doors. If this is a flop…

Has the city of Rome responded well?
“Generally yes. In particular, I am pleased to underline that have well worked the welcome, with everything concerning the security principals by armed forces and volunteers, and the health protection. Even if the city has unfortunately shown its limits which are under our eyes, however, they haven’t compromise the smooth conduct of the Jubilee events “.

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