Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, with great love and care for us all, calls us to experience God’s mercy especially during the Jubilee Year of Mercy which begins December 8, 2015.  Meantime he announced yesterday another concrete demonstration of his merciful care.  He grants to all priests, during the Jubilee Year, the special faculty to absolve any woman who has procured an abortion from that sin.  Any woman carrying that burden may seek release from the sin with forgiveness and reconciliation simply by going to a priest, confessing her sin and receiving, in return for her sorrow, the gift of absolution, freeing her definitively through this beautiful sacrament of God’s mercy, the sacrament of penance and reconciliation.

In our Diocese, all three of my predecessors and I have already given that special faculty to all our priests.  Since 1957, any woman who has undergone an abortion and has confessed this sin in the past already has received the sacrament of divine mercy with full forgiveness for her sin and reconciliation to God and Christ’s Church.

As our Holy Father says so movingly, the forgiveness of God cannot be denied to anyone who has repented, especially when that person approaches the Sacrament of Confession with a sincere heart in order to obtain reconciliation with the Father.   My brother priests and I are eager to be God’s instruments during the Jubilee Year to welcome one and all to the Sacrament of God’s Mercy and to absolve any woman who comes to confess this sin with words of welcome, forgiveness, understanding as instruments of the merciful love the Father of Mercies.   May Mary, the Mother of Mercy, be the special protector and guide of all women in this Jubilee Year of Divine Mercy.