Four Holy Doors to open around the diocese, Dec. 20

Four Holy Doors to open around the diocese, Dec. 20
A crowd gathers outside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Camden, before Bishop Dennis Sullivan opens the Holy Door on Dec. 13. Photo by Mike Walsh

A crowd gathers outside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Camden, before Bishop Dennis Sullivan opens the Holy Door on Dec. 13.
Photo by Mike Walsh

On Dec. 20, four Holy Doors will be opened around the Diocese of Camden in celebration of the beginning of the Jubilee of Mercy. This is the first time the opportunity to pass through Holy Doors has been available globally. In years past, the pilgrim practice was limited to the four basilicas of Rome.

— Bishop Dennis Sullivan will open a Holy Door at Our Lady of Lourdes Church; Mary, Mother of Mercy Parish, before the 8 a.m. Mass.

— Father Robert Hughes, vicar general, will open a Holy Door at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in Cape May before the 10:30 a.m. Mass.

— Father John Vignone will open a Holy Door at Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Church, Parish of Saint Monica in Atlantic City before the noon Mass.

— Msgr. John Burton, vicar general, will open a Holy Door at Saint Francis of Assisi Church, Divine Mercy Parish, in Vineland before the 12:30 p.m. Mass.

The establishment of the Holy Doors traces its roots back to early Christians who used the practice as a public sign of penance before they could return to their faith community. Today, pilgrims who enter through these doors during a Holy Year are making a public acknowledgment of repentance and recommitment to their faith.

As explained by Saint John Paul II, “To focus on the door is to recall the responsibility of every believer to cross its threshold. To pass through that door means to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord; it is to strengthen faith in him in order to live the new life which he has given us. It is a decision which presumes freedom to choose and also the courage to leave something behind, in the knowledge that what is gained is divine life.”

In a recent letter, Pope Francis noted that the Jubilee of Mercy and pilgrimages to Holy Doors “must be linked, first and foremost, to the sacrament of reconciliation and to the celebration of the Holy Eucharist with a reflection on mercy.” Faithful who make pilgrimages to religious sites or do good works during a Holy Year can receive indulgences provided that within one week of performing the act that an indulgence is attached to, they also receive the sacraments of penance and the Holy Eucharist and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father.

The modern example of the Holy Doors dates back to 1499 when the pope at the time opened the door on Christmas Eve to inaugurate the Holy Year 1500. For most of Catholic history, the doors were opened with a hammer to symbolize the force of prayer and penance. This will be only the 29th Holy Year in the Church since the tradition began.

Categories: Latest News

About Author