|Our pilgrim family at the Holy Door at Saint Stephen Cathedral|
On December 8, 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis opened the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. After ceremoniously opening Holy Doors of bronze at Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, he instructed all cathedrals around the world to open their doors as well. Some dioceses followed suit on December 8th while others waited for Sunday, December 13.
The Year of Mercy invites us all to acknowledge and accept the mercy offered by God in a more spiritually aware way. Not only are we to accept His mercy, we are tasked with opening our hearts in granting mercy to others as well.
As Pope Francis, at his weekly General Audience on the previous Wednesday, focused his catechetical reflections on the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.
“If the door of God’s mercy is always open, even so must be the doors of our churches, the love of our communities, our parishes, our institutions, our dioceses, for when they are, we can all go out to bring this mercy of God [to those who most need it]. The Jubilee Year recalls the great door of God’s mercy, but also the small doors of our churches – open to let the Lord in – or to let the Lord out, who is often the prisoner of our structures, our selfishness, and of so many things.”
To read the text of the Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, follow the link to Misericordiae Vultus.
Fruits of the Year of Mercy
The Year of Mercy has already begun to bear fruit. As one priest friend from Facebook shared, faithful who have been away from the Church for a time are answering the call. Many who have felt out of touch with the mercy of God are returning to the sacraments and practicing mercy themselves.
Our diocesan cathedral, Saint Stephen Cathedral, held a mini- pilgrimage (procession) from the local soup kitchen to the front of the designated Holy Door. After the much anticipated opening by Bishop Medley, the parishioners and others eagerly entered through the door to celebrate Mass. My family was among them and felt the call to better seek the will of God, His mercy, and to be more merciful to others.
|Our 'pilgrimage' to the Holy Door at Saint Stephen Cathedral.|
|Upon opening the Holy Door Bishop Medley enters|
|Bishop Medley approaches the Holy Door|
Holy Year Overview
Traditionally a Holy Year centers on the forgiveness of sins and the merited punishment they bring. It seeks an opportunity for reconciliation between enemies, the conversion of souls, and reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession).
May our hearts be changed and softened toward those around us. May we give mercy in the same measure that we seek it. Happy Jubilee Year of Mercy!
NOTE:The Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy runs from Dec. 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and culminates on Nov. 20, 2016 with the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
Walking Through the Door of Mercy is also