Sunday 13 December, Archbishop Vincent Nicholas opened the Holy Door of Mercy at Westminster Cathedral with the celebration of Vespers to mark the beginning of the Jubilee Year of Mercy in the diocese. He was joined by the Cathedral Chapters and the Chaplains of the Cathedral, after which he invited the lay faithful to walk through the Holy Door with him.
The Cathedral will be the principal Holy Door for the diocese. Several other churches which include: Our Lady of the Rosary in Marylebone, St Patrick’s in Soho Square, St William of York in Stanmore, among others has been granted permission for a Holy Door. These doors have been arranged to open on different dates.
Those making a brief pilgrimage during the Year of Mercy to the Cathedral’s Holy Door or the others through the Diocese may gain the Jubilee Indulgence for themselves or the Holy Souls. The Cardinal has also written A Pilgrimage Companion for the Year of Mercy by way of explanation and to help the faithful experience God’s mercy to the full.
Likewise, Alan Stephen Hopes who is the Catholic Bishop of East Anglia opened the Holy Door at St John the Baptist Cathedral in Norwich and invited the faithful to walk through the Holy Door with him. Representatives from every parish in the Diocese were there to witness this.
Speaking in a Catholic Bishops’ Conference Advent podcast, Bishop Hopes said: “The Year of Mercy is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the whole idea of mercy both in the scriptures and in the liturgy of the Church. And particularly the way in which compassion, love and mercy should be part of the church’s pastoral care of the people of God and those on the margins.The main Holy Door within the Diocese at the Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Norwich will be open all year for people to make pilgrimage and walk through it.”
He added: “Going through the Holy Door is such an important thing. It is the opening into the very heart of God’s mercy. People will be encouraged to make the pilgrimage through the door, make their confession (there will be priests in the Cathedral to hear them), and think about some of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy that they can carry out in their own lives.”
This year’s Holy Year of Mercy started on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception at St. Peter’s Basilica on 8 December 2015 and will end on the Feast of Christ the King on 20 November 2016.