Pastoral Letter: Blessed are the MercifulCourse Level: Basic

Course Summary

The seminar takes a deeper look at the Pastoral Letter issued by Bishop Paul Hinder, Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia, on the   occasion of the the Holy Year of Mercy. Reflecting on Matthew 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy,” Bishop Paul challenges the reader to take a fresh look at the Sacrament of Reconciliation as an opportunity of renewal, and at the same time deepen the understanding of the church’s teaching on mercy, forgiveness and compassion.


Bishop Paul Hinder is the Vicar Apostolic of Souther Arabia (comprising parishes in the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen), a vast vicariate that is home to vibrant parishes made up of faithful from all parts of the world. His pastoral letters, while focusing of teachings of the Church, serve to guide a migrant faith community, many of who are away from their families for long periods of time.

Successful completion of this course earns 1.5 CEU's. Click here for more information about CEU's.

General Course Objectives

  • Have an understanding of the importance of a Jubilee Year in the Catholic faith
  • Take a fresh look at the Sacrament of Reconciliation
  • Have a better understanding of the church’s teaching on compassion, mercy and forgiveness
  • Have a better personal understanding of two mercy parables – The Prodigal Son and The Good Samaritan

Course Materials

  • No books required. All readings are online.

Course Structure and Highlights

  • Week 1: The Prodigal Son
    • Understand the meaning and importance a Christian Jubilee Year
    • Read the parable of the Prodigal Son in conjunction with the pastoral letter
    • To appropriate the parable of the Prodigal Son as our own story
    • To review the implications of the parable in our day to day life.
  • Week 2: The Good Samaritan
    • Read the Parable of the Good Samaritan in conjunction with the Pastoral Letter
    • Identify our failings in being ‘good’ neighbors
    • Reflect on Pope Francis’ cry for social justice
  • Week 3: An Invitation to Renewal
    • To deepen the understanding of the concept of mercy and forgiveness within Catholic Church teachings.
    • To understand the importance of prayer while seeking God’s mercy
    • To open ourselves willingly to God’s mercy