“You have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him.” With this prayer Bishop Peter Stasiuk opened the North Melbourne Cathedral door and declared the “Year of Mercy” officially launched in Australia on Sunday, 20th March 2016.

The official Icon of the Mother of Mercy was processed into the church by the children, clergy, and faithful of the parish. The Cathedral choir sang the Beatitudes.

In his homily during the liturgy, Bishop Peter advised the faithful that the Icon of the Mother of Mercy is a copy of the same one which comes from Ukraine but now is in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Millions of people from across the world will pray before it during this Year of Mercy.

The Bishop reminded the faithful that we are all created by God and therefore made in His image; he loves us all as His own creation and does not want us to be lost because of our sins. He does not want us to die that is why He gave us eternal life.

He is merciful to us and asks us to extend this mercy to others.

The Bishop continued – “If you want mercy, be merciful yourself.”

This Year of Mercy is an excellent opportunity to know God better, to serve our neighbour, to experience peace and love, to experience forgiveness, to heal the hurts and wounds that affect us and our families and friends.

As an act of Mercy, Bishop Peter informed the faithful that the Eparchy has ordered 2000 copies of the new English edition of Catechism “Christ our Pascha”. It is an Act of Mercy to our faithful to inform them what we believe, how we pray, and how we should live.

While the Cathedral door is the first and official door of Mercy in the Eparchy, others will be opened in Sydney, Canberra, and Perth.

A copy of the icon, the Mother of Mercy, will travel to all our Victorian parishes.

A complete programme for the Year of Mercy has already been distributed to all our clergy.