On December 8, 2015 the Solemnity of Mary’s Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis will open the “Holy Door” of St.Peter’s Basilica in Rome to inaugurate an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.

“On that day”, he wrote. “the Holy Door will become a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instills hope.”

The Metro East Vicariate which comprises Catholic parishes in Belleville, Cahokia, Caseyville, Columbia, Dupo, East St. Louis and Fairmont City has joined together to support “Our Brothers’ Keepers,” as its own special way of welcoming “returning citizens” from our broken criminal justice system. OBK is a faith-based organization dedicated to the full integration of formerly incarcerated persons, including housing, in St. Clair County.

This is in keeping with the Jubilee of Mercy which has as its focus forgiveness and mercy. Pope Francis said, “Pardoning offences becomes the clearest expression of merciful love, and for us Christians it is an imperative from which we cannot excuse ourselves. At times how hard it seems to forgive! And yet pardon is the instrument placed into our fragile hands to attain serenity of heart.”

During the “Jubilee Year of Mercy,” the “Holy Door” at St. Peter Cathederal in Belleville, IL will be opened on Sunday at 10:30 AM December 13, 2015 and close on November 13, 2016. On Sunday, November 6, 2016 the Jubilee of prisoners will be celebrated in St. Peters Basilica, Rome.