Jubilee Doors of Mercy opened worldwide
Bishops from around the world have been opening Holy Doors in their own dioceses after Pope Francis inaugurated the Year of Mercy on December 8th.
On 13 Dec Archbishop Charles Scicluna led a procession from the church of St Mark in Rabat to Mdina. On arrival at the Metropolitan Cathedral of St Paul, the archbishop delivered a short prayer before opening the first Door of Mercy in Malta.
The Archbishop then opened a second Door of Mercy at the Sanctuary of Our Lady in Mellieħa, after celebrating mass at the local parish church. A third Door of Mercy in Malta will shortly be opened at the Basilica in Senglea, where the painting of Christ the Redeemer is displayed.
These doors, analogous to the Holy Doors of the Papal Basilicas in Rome, will allow people who cannot travel to Rome to make a Jubilee pilgrimage
The official opening of the Jubilee of Mercy in the Diocese of Gozo was held on Sunday, the 13th of December 2015, Third Sunday of Advent, at the Cathedral in Victoria. The Bishop of Gozo, Mario Grech, declared that even in Gozo the Church can live this “extraordinary moment of grace and spiritual renewal.”
Bishop Grech has selected three churches in which to open a Holy Door of Mercy:
- Cathedral of the Assumption, Victoria
- the National Shrine of Our Lady of Ta ‘Pinu, Gharb
- Sanctuary of the Immaculate Conception, Qala.
When he opened the Door at Ta’ Pinu, the bishop said it would be dedicated to families. He asked God to help families with problems, so that their broken hearts would find solace, reconciliation and happiness at Ta’ Pinu.
During the Holy Year of Mercy, the diocese of Gozo is launching various initiatives, with particular attention to to the poor and needy. Such initiatives arealso in line with the Diocesan Pastoral Plan 2013-2016 to promote the works of mercy among the Christians of the diocese.
HOLY LAND – Bethlehem
The Latin Patriarch of Bethlehem opened a Holy Door at the Catholic Church of St. Catherine near the Church of the Nativity before midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. He stated: “We, as the Church, want to use this Year of Mercy to remind the Christians of Bethlehem of their calling and to strengthen them in the faith. They are witnesses to the peace that Jesus brought us. And although peace may still seem far away and the road to it bumpy: the fact that God was made man here 2000 years ago is a sign of hope for this country and its people.”
Bishop Tesfassilassie said that the Eparchy of Adigrat has already drawn a plan of action for the year and prepared a booklet in the local language Tigrigna to be distributed among the faithful to guide the activities for the year of Mercy. The Door of Mercy has also been opened at the Holy Savior Catholic Cathedral in the town of Adigrat and it will be open to the faithful throughout the year in accordance with the instructions of the Holy Father Pope Francis.
Bishop Tesfassilassie called on the faithful to look at the year of Mercy as a time of spiritual renewal. Pilgrimages and other spiritual activities will be organised for the faithful as a community and at the same time the Church will also encourage the faithful to practice engaging in Corporal and Spiritual Acts of Mercy throughout the year. He said practicing such acts of Mercy in this Jubilee year will encourage the people to make Corporal and Spiritual Acts of Mercy part of their lives even long after the year of Mercy ends.
The Eparchy of Adigrat consists of the Tigray and Afar Regional States in the Northern part of Ethiopia where a significant number of Catholic faithful are present.
Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) Chairman Bishop Philip Anyolo launched the Jubilee Year of Mercy at the Kenya Catholic Secretariat on 10 December 2015, two days after Pope Francis opened the Jubilee Year of Mercy in Rome at St. Peter’s Basilica.
In his Homily at the Catholic Secretariat launch, the Bishop of Marsabit, Peter Kihara said that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, had given permission for dioceses all over the world, that feel that their faithful live far from the Cathedral to have some shrines and some parishes designated as Holy Doors. These doors need to be of shrines or Churches with some particular relevance. It is an opportunity that the Bishop of Marsabit intends to utilise fully due to distance and pastoral challenges in Marsabit.
The Door of Mercy of the Cathedral of Faisalabad Diocese in Pakistan was opened on Sunday by Rev Joseph Arshad, who expressed the yearning for peace and hope of the people of the nation. “Our land is wounded with terrorism and the atmosphere is polluted with intolerance”; the special Jubilee of mercy “is a great sign of love and hope for the whole world”, he said opening the Door of Mercy of Saints Peter and Paul cathedral in the city.
After lighting the Jubilee candle, the bishop led hundreds of faithful through the main door of the church while Dominican nuns recited the litany of the saints. “I thank Pope Francis – said the prelate – for having convoked the year of Mercy in our world plagued by war. Jesus Christ is the face of the loving mercy of the Father, and looking to Him we can give a new look to our world”. He said, “It is crucial to promote harmony, tolerance brotherhood and forgiveness in this milieu by educating the sentiment of mercy.”
Rufin Antony, the Bishop of Islamabad Rawalpindi opened the Holy Door in Islamabad Rawalpindi. He said that the Year of Mercy means, “that God is opening the door, his door is always open for mercy and so also we have to open our doors to mercy and compassion towards everyone.”
The Archdiocese of Bombay opened its second Door of Mercy at a popular Marian shrine in Mumbai. The Archbishop of Bombay, Cardinal Oswald Gracias presided over the ceremony of the opening of the Door of Mercy of the popular Basilica of Mount Mary in Bandra, which was followed by Holy Mass. Earlier, on Dec. 13, Auxiliary Bishop John Rodrigues of Bombay opened the Door of Mercy of the cathedral, as did dioceses around the world.
Speaking at the opening of the door, Cardinal Gracias echoed Pope Francis’ words, ‘I, too, am a sinner in need of God’s mercy’. “If we look deeply, we will come to an understanding that mercy is God’s overwhelming love,” he said. The Cardinal pointed out that God’s mercy and love is not only for saints, “it is for all; we are all in need of God’s love, each and every one of us.” And the Church is the vehicle of mercy, and we as the Church have the Christian duty to spread the message of God’s mercy and reconciliation. He urged all to be ‘agents of God’s mercy’.
Cardinal John Tong Hon of Hong Kong Diocese opened the Holy Door of Mercy of his cathedral in mid Decenber, inaugurating the Jubilee Year of Mercy at the diocesan local level. The ceremony after Vespers was attended by hundreds of faithful. In his homily, Cardinal Tong said that “God will be a friend of sinners,” explaining that in the four Gospels there are dozens of passages in which Jesus is full of mercy. “Mercy and reconciliation,” he said, “are so closely connected but reconciliation is not only between peoples and nations. It is also internal to families and individuals. These dimensions are interrelated”.
The opening of the Holy Door ceremony included reading of passages from four documents of Vatican II and blessing of those present and the Holy Door. There were many representatives of parish councils and dozens of priests. Card. Tong blessed the stoles of the confessors with the logo of the Jubilee.
Hong Kong diocese has decided that there will be seven Holy Doors, among them the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, where Card. Tong opened the Door on Jan. 1.
The Vatican-owned Bambino Gesù Hospital in Rome is allowing patients to create their own Holy Door for the Jubilee. The hospital is on the Janiculum Hill, which overlooks St. Peter’s Basilica, but many of the children are not well enough to make the journey.Therefore, children from the oncohematology and other departments have been busy designing and creating their own version of the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica, drawing from scenes in the Old and New Testaments. The project allows the children to use their senses, imagination, and artistic skills, as well as discover things about biblical history and spirituality.
The chaplain of the Bambino Gesù Hospital said the goal is to give to young patients and their families the feeling of being part of a community of love and mercy, and allow them to take part in the Extraordinary Jubilee.”There is a deep connection between conversion and the suffering we experience in particular situations,” said Father Luigi. “Suffering is not only physical pain, but also the inner suffering from lack of meaning,” he added, “The more the spirit of God pervades our lives, the less we suffer, because we feel less alone”.
Meanwhile, the Bambino Gesù Hospital’s facility in Palidoro, located in the Suburbicarian Diocese of Porto-Santa Rufina, became the site of one the Diocese’s official Holy Doors for the Jubilee. On 17 December, the Door of Mercy were officially opened in the Hospital’s chapel by Bishop Gino Reale, thus becoming one of the four Holy Doors of the Diocese, which is situated in the northern part of the Province of Rome.
The Holy Door of the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls was opened by Cardinal James Harvey, the Archpriest of the Basilica. The ceremony took place as Pope Francis was opening the Holy Door at the Papal Basilica of St. John Lateran. After the Mass for the opening of the Holy Door, A concert was given by The New Chamber Singers, under the direction of Maestro Darren Everhart.
The Holy Door of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls carries a design honouring the Holy Trinity, and bears the Latin inscription “Ad sacram Pauli cunctis venientibus aedem – sit pacis donum perpetuoquoe salus,” which means “Those who come to the holy temple of Paul are given the gift of peace and eternal salvation.”
Pope Francis will pass through the Holy Door at St. Paul Outside-the-Walls during an ecumenical service on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul on January 25, 2016.
The Pope visited a new homeless shelter in Rome’s Termini – John Paul II train station, where he opened a Holy Door for the Jubilee of Mercy. Following the opening of the Holy Door, Pope Francis celebrated Mass at the Centre. The decision to open a special Holy Door of Charity at a homeless shelter is a unique feature of the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, designed to emphasize the centrality of concrete works of charity in the life of the Church
It was the fourth Holy Door opened in Rome, following the solemn opening of the Doors at St Peter’s Basilica and the Archbasilica of St John Lateran by Pope Francis. The Holy Door at St Paul’s Outside-the-Walls was opened by Cardinal James Harvey, the Archpriest of the Basilica. The Holy Door of the fourth Papal Basilica, St Mary Major, was opened by the Pope on the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God on January first.