Today, 8th December 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, marks the beginning of an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy which will be celebrated by Catholics worldwide.
This Jubilee was first announced in April of this year when a papal bull titled Misericordiæ Vultus was released in which Pope Francis emphasised how we must 'gaze' upon the mercy of God.
Upon announcing the Jubilee, Pope Francis said, 'I am confident that the whole Church, which is in such need of mercy for we are sinners, will be able to find in this Jubilee the joy of rediscovering and rendering fruitful God's mercy, with which we are called to give comfort to every man and every woman of our time. Do not forget that God forgives all, and God forgives always.
Today's date is also significant as it marks the fifty year anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council in which our founder, Cardinal Joseph Cardijn, was as one of the Council Fathers.
The YCW in England and Wales will be marking the Year of Mercy in a number of ways throughout the year, details of which will be announced shortly.
The Vatican have launched a website where you can find more information on the Extraordinary Year of Mercy, www.iubilaeummisericordiae.va