‘Knock and it shall be opened’
The Holy year of Mercy and the Holy Door
THE FIRST HOLY YEAR
In 1983 when a Holy Year was declared to mark the 1950th anniversary of the death and resurrection of our Lord, a major aspect of the Holy Year has been that of pilgrimage to Rome, to make reparation for sin and to renew the conversion of one’s life.
A very important symbolic act performed by each pilgrim has been to pass through the Holy Door. Christ identified Himself as “the door.”
In his bull Incarnationis Mysterium proclaiming this Holy Year, Pope John Paul II stated that the Holy Door “…evokes the passage from sin to grace which every Christian is called to accomplish. Jesus said, ‘I am the door’ (John 10:7) in order to make it clear that no one can come to the Father except through Him. This designation which Jesus applies to Himself testifies to the fact that He alone is the Savior sent by the Father. There is only one way that opens wide the entrance into this life of communion with God. This is Jesus, the one and absolute way to salvation. To Him alone can the words of the psalmist be applied in full truth: ‘This is the door of the Lord where the just may enter’ (Psalm 118:20)
THE HOLY YEAR OF MERCY
The year 2015 was unexpectedly announced by Pope Francis during a penitential service at St. Peter’s Basilica on March 12. Beginning on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception December 8, 2015, it will end on the Solemnity of Christ the King, November 20, 2016. The motto being “Compassionate like the Father”
Having already described his papacy as a “kairos” of mercy, defined by the New Testament as a privileged moment in God’s plan of salvation, Pope Francis said the time is ripe for the message of mercy. “I am convinced that the whole Church, which has much need to receive mercy, because we are sinners, will find in this jubilee the joy to rediscover and render fruitful the mercy of God, with which we are all called to give consolation to every man and woman of our time,” the pope said.
Following after the Mass to open the Holy year of mercy, Francis opens the Holy Door in the basilica. Each of Rome’s major basilicas has its own holy door, which are traditionally sealed from the inside and only opened during jubilee years. The door usually is sealed with bricks as a symbolic reminder of the barrier of sin between human beings and God.
THE HOLY DOOR
Those who pass through a Holy Door during this jubilee year will receive a plenary indulgence, which removes all of the temporal punishment for sins committed up to that time — provided the recipient also goes to confession, receives Communion, and prays for the pope.
Moreover, when the door opens, the obstacles of passage to our Lord are removed. During the Holy Year, we hope and pray that the obstacles of personal weakness, temptation, and sin will be removed so that we will have a holy union with our Lord.
Pope Francis has announced an opportunity for Catholics to obtain a plenary indulgence during the Year of Mercy by passing through a designated Holy Door during the Year of Mercy, or performing one of the corporal or spiritual works of mercy; and fulfilling the usual conditions of having the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, receiving Sacramental Confession, Holy Eucharist, and praying for the intentions of the Holy Father.
The Holy door will become a door of mercy to which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons and instills hope. ‘The world needs to discover that God is Father, that there is Mercy, that cruelty and condemnation is not the path.’ (Pope Francis)
There are only three simple ways to enter the Holy Door, get nearer to God our Father, which will assure us at the same time through plenary indulgence, that we will see our lost beloved ones who have left ahead of us and joined our Lord. The Sacrament of Confession, Holy Eucharist and prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father.
The six designated Holy Doors in the Philippines are as follows:
1) San Sebastian Cathedral of Bacolod City Negros Occidental
2) Saints Peter and Paul Parish of Bantayan Island, Cebu
3) National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles
6) Divine Mercy Church of Biluso, Cavite City