THE HOLY DOOR
On 8th December, Pope Francis opened the Holy Year of Mercy which calls us to conversion and repentance and is an opportunity for us to experience God’s grace, especially in the sacrament of reconciliation. One of the features of any Holy Year is the Holy Door in St Peter’s being solemnly opened by the pope. Traditionally the pope strikes it three times with a hammer saying, “Open unto me the gates of justice.” The three strikes are symbolic of Moses striking the rock to bring forth water, God striking the earth to free Paul and Silas from prison, and the strike the soldier gave Our Lord on the cross, piercing His Sacred Heart out of which flowed blood and water, symbols of the Holy Eucharist and Baptism. Therefore, the door symbolizes the release of graces, flowing abundantly to the faithful. Pope Francis has asked every diocese in the world to have a Holy Door for the Year of Mercy. Therefore it is no longer necessary to travel to Rome to gain the Holy Year Indulgence.
Pope St 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 Saviour sent by the Father…‘This is the door of the Lord where the just may enter’ (Psalm 118:20).”
Pope Francis says this year “is the opportune moment to change our lives! This is the time to allow our hearts to be touched!”
Our bishop, Patrick, has nominated four Holy Doors in this diocese. They are St Barnabas Cathedral, Holy Cross Priory Church, Mount St Bernard Abbey and Briars Catholic Youth Retreat Centre. One can gain the Holy Year Indulgence by passing through any one of them. More on this next week.
Fr Paul Gillham
To view/download the complete newsletter, click here > Newsletter Sunday 17 January 2016