But just how that is marked will depend on your diocese. Here is a round up of what's happening in the Archdioceses - do feel free to tell us what is happening in your own diocese, or to highlight any particularly good (or questionable!) initiatives for it that you are aware of.
The Year of Grace will be launched at the Pentecost Masses to be held on the weekend of 27 May 2012. A page on the website provides information and resource links.
But quite the nicest way to start any year of a quasi-retreat would be to attend Solemn Vespers at the Cathedral:
"Solemn Vespers will be sung by the choir of St Christopher's Cathedral on Pentecost at 4.45pm (preceding the 5.30pm Mass"
In Brisbane, Archbishop Mark Coleridge will celebrate a 10am Mass for Pentecost at the Cathedral of St Stephen. The Archdiocesan website explains that this will involve the "breaking open the ‘Year of Grace’". The Archbishop has also put out his first Pastoral Letter to the Archdiocese on the subject.
Here is a short except:
"This Pentecost Sunday we begin what we’re calling the Year of Grace. This will be like a time of retreat for the whole Church in Australia – a time to refocus on what really matters, a time to rediscover the heart of the Christian life. We can’t earn the almost incredible love of God; but we don’t have to. It’s given to the unworthy as a free gift. All they have to do is accept it. But that can be harder than it sounds, given our tendency to insist that we can do it all ourselves."
In Adelaide, the Archdiocesan website explains that:
"Year of Grace will be launched on Pentecost Sunday, May 27. The overall focus for The Year of Grace in the Archdiocese of Adelaide will be one of prayer, using Lectio Divina to reflect on scripture.
Archbishop Philip Wilson has asked that every parish nominate two ambassadors to assist their parishes with promoting the Year of Grace. The ambassador's role will be to support the priest and parish leaders as well as a communication role passing on information from the Archdiocesan Year of Grace Committee."
The website includes links to a number of resources, including suggestions for a 'Liturgy of the Word' for the launch (bring out your projectors and get that logo up!).
"A Year of Grace will be launched in Perth with Mass celebrated by Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB of Perth at 5pm on Pentecost Sunday, 27 May at St Mary’s Cathedral.
Archbishop Costelloe invites all parishioners to attend the Launch.
A Year of Grace candle for each parish will be blessed during the Mass and organisers hope that this candle will become a focal point for A Year of Grace in each parish community."
The website also has resources to explain what it is all about.
There doesn't seem to be a formal launch event as far as I can find, but Archbishop Hart's article on Kairos on the Year of Grace provides an important injunction we can all get behind, namely to pray for the Church in Australia:
"What, then, should you do in this Year of Grace? At the Feast of Pentecost, we remember that only the Holy Spirit can breathe new life into the Church. Therefore the most appropriate contribution you can make to the Year of Grace is to implore a new sending of the Holy Spirit upon the Church in Australia."Sydney
Sydney Archdiocese seems to be taking a rather different approach to the Year, viz ignore it as much as possible!
Bishop Comensoli, writing in the Catholic Weekly, explains that:
"For the next 12 months, until Pentecost 2013, the Catholic bishops of Australia are inviting you to join us in “starting afresh from Christ”: to enter on a journey of the heart so as to experience anew the gift of the Holy Spirit.
I should let you know, however, that there will be no launch of this Year in our Archdiocese of Sydney; no official event to mark the occasion; not even a list of initiatives to implement. The Year of Grace will begin with nothing ... or, more accurately, with nothing to do. It’s simply not that kind of Year.
And while Cardinal Pell's Pentecost message arguably deals with one of the themes of the Year (ie
The Archbishop's Pentecost Pastoral Letter takes the Year's tagline, Starting Afresh from Christ, as its title, and urges us to focus on grace, living out our baptism, start afresh with prayer, get back to Sunday Mass, go to confession, read the Bible, and focus on mission. Good stuff!
In Hobart the launch of the Year takes place at a 'Pentecost and Pizza' event:
"Southern Youth Council invites all young Southerners (& any visitors) to join with us at St. Mary’s Cathedral for Mass at 6.00pm for the Archdiocese of Hobart’s launch of The Year of Grace.
Following Mass you are invited to join with us in the Cathedral Centre for some pizza and a movie— ‘The Way’….there may be some ‘Holy Spirit’ flames & possibly even some marshmallows too!!
Launceston as a 'Soup and Spirit' event.
Surprisingly, the archdiocesan website has no obvious links to the official Year of Grace page displayed.