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Holy door open

Tuesday, 29th December, 2015

The congregation passes through the holy door at the Sacred Heart Cathedral. PICTURE: Michael Murphy The congregation passes through the holy door at the Sacred Heart Cathedral. PICTURE: Michael Murphy

By Michael Murphy

Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green blessed and opened a holy door at the Sacred Heart Cathedral on Sunday as part of a worldwide move promulgated by Pope Francis.

The Pope opened the central door of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome this month - declaring 2016 a “Year of Mercy” - and he asked cathedrals around the world to follow suit.

Bishop Macbeth-Green led a special mass at 10am on Sunday, the church’s choir found voice and a procession from inside the church made its way out the front door and around the side of the building to the “holy door”, the second door leading into the cathedral from Sulphide Street.

The latin words “Porta Misericordiae” - meaning the Jubilee Door of Mercy - and flowers framed the special entrance.

In a short ceremony, Bishop Macbeth-Green blessed the door with holy water and incense before leading the 150-strong congregation across the threshold and into the cathedral for mass.

Those who go through the holy door are - during this special year - given an extra blessing known as a plenary indulgence.

“If you love someone, sometimes you give them something special,” Bishop Macbeth-Green told the congregation.

“You might give them a bunch of flowers because you love them, some chocolates, or you just do something because you want to give something to the ones you love.

“That’s what indulgence is, the church gives its people something special, something special spiritually, and this is what the Holy Door of Mercy is all about.

“It’s a gift of the church ... an opportunity to gain God’s special graces, mercies, indulgences.”

The door will be open throughout the year of mercy for pilgrims from around the diocese to pass through as a prayer for personal conversion and action.

By passing through the holy door, Pope Francis said Catholics should take on the role of the Good Samaritan.

“To pass through the holy door means to rediscover the infinite mercy of the Father who welcomes everyone and goes out personally to encounter each of them.”

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