Follow usTwitterFacebook


17 Jul 2015 Articles Resources No comments

Lessons from South America: How to greet and understand Pope Francis

People make special preparations for welcoming a special guest, and watching what worked and did not work in Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay may help people prepa…

Read more

17 Oct 2014 Q&A Comments (2)

Did the Church move the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday?

Catholics do not worship on the Sabbath which is the last day of the week according to Jewish teaching, when God rested from work after creation (Gen. 2:2-3). W…

Read more

29 Jul 2016 Q&A Comments (4)

When Jesus mentioned the "one flock, one shepherd," was he referring to the Catholic Church alone?

Full Question In John 10:16 Jesus says "I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must lead them too, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be …

Read more

18 Jul 2015 Articles Comments (2)

Grief: Does It Ever End?

“It is suffering, more than anything else, which clears the way for the grace which transforms human souls.” —St. John Paul II In August 2009 my two older s…

Read more

05 Aug 2016 News Comments (1)

New claimant to Boko Haram leadership has pledged to ‘blow up every church we can’

New Boko Haram leader announced, with new threats aimed at Christians An Islamist named by ISIS as the new leader of Boko Haram has pledged to blow up every ch…

Read more

19 Nov 2014 Q&A No comments

What are the pains of purgatory?

Full Question What are the pains of purgatory? Answer While the nature of the punishment of the cleansing fire of purgatory is not a defined doct…

Read more

30 Aug 2016 Uncategorized No comments

Prosecutor undecided on death penalty after killing of nuns

The nuns' order has said it opposes the death penalty and said the sisters' murders do 'not demand revenge' A Mississippi prosecutor said she hasn’t decided wh…

Read more

17 Nov 2014 Q&A Comments (2)

If I married a non-baptized person in a civil wedding, do I need an annulment to remarry?

Full Question My first wife and I were married by the justice of the peace. I was baptized in a Baptist church, but she was not baptized at all. Do I have …

Read more

24 Sep 2015 News USA No comments

Be shepherds concerned only for God and others, Pope tells US bishops

Pope Francis met the US bishops in Washington's Cathedral of St Matthew the Apostle Acknowledging the real challenges and burdens the US bishops face in thei…

Read more
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Read Homily and Watch: Pope Francis Opening Holy Door in Basilica of St Mary Major

The Holy father celebrated mass at the basilica in Rome, which is also known as Our Lady of the Snows, on the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God; there he also opened a holy door.

Below is his homily at the mass:

Homily of Pope Francis
Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God
and the Opening of the Holy Door at the Basilica of St Mary Major

1 January 2016

Salve, Mater Misericordiae!

With this invocation we turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Roman Basilica dedicated to her under the title of Mother of God. It is the first line of an ancient hymn which we will sing at the conclusion of this Holy Eucharist. Composed by an unknown author, it has come down to us as a heartfelt prayer spontaneously rising up from the hearts of the faithful: “Hail Mother of mercy, Mother of God, Mother of forgiveness, Mother of hope, Mother of grace and Mother full of holy gladness”. In these few words we find a summary of the faith of generations of men and women who, with their eyes fixed firmly on the icon of the Blessed Virgin, have sought her intercession and consolation.

It is most fitting that on this day we invoke the Blessed Virgin Mary above all as Mother of mercy. The door we have opened is, in fact, a Door of Mercy. Those who cross its threshold are called to enter into the merciful love of the Father with complete trust and freedom from fear; they can leave this Basilica knowing that Mary is ever at their side. She is the Mother of mercy, because she bore in her womb the very Face of divine mercy, Jesus, Emmanuel, the Expectation of the nations, the “Prince of Peace” (Is 9:5). The Son of God, made incarnate for our salvation, has given us his Mother, who joins us on our pilgrimage through this life, so that we may never be left alone, especially at times of trouble and uncertainty.

Mary is the Mother of God who forgives, who bestows forgiveness, and so we can rightly call her Mother of forgiveness. This word – “forgiveness” – so misunderstood in today’s world, points to the new and original fruit of Christian faith. A person unable to forgive has not yet known the fullness of love. Only one who truly loves is able to forgive and forget. At the foot of the Cross, Mary sees her Son offer himself totally, showing us what it means to love as God loves. At that moment she heard Jesus utter words which probably reflected what he had learned from her as a child: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Lk 23:24). At that moment, Mary became for all of us the Mother of forgiveness. Following Jesus’ example and by his grace, she herself could forgive those who killed her innocent Son.

For us, Mary is an icon of how the Church must offer forgiveness to those who seek it. The Mother of forgiveness teaches the Church that the forgiveness granted on Golgotha knows no limits.  Neither the law with its quibbles, nor the wisdom of this world with its distinctions, can hold it back. The Church’s forgiveness must be every bit as broad as that offered by Jesus on the Cross and by Mary at his feet. There is no other way. It is for this purpose that the Holy Spirit made the Apostles the effective ministers of forgiveness, so what was obtained by the death of Jesus may reach all men and women in every age (cf. Jn 20:19-23).

The Marian hymn continues: “Mother of hope and Mother of grace, Mother of holy gladness”. Hope, grace and holy gladness are all sisters: they are the gift of Christ; indeed, they are so many names written on his body. The gift that Mary bestows in offering us Jesus is the forgiveness which renews life, enables us once more to do God’s will and fills us with true happiness. This grace frees the heart to look to the future with the joy born of hope. This is the teaching of the Psalm: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. […] Restore to me the joy of your salvation” (51:10,12). The power of forgiveness is the true antidote to the sadness caused by resentment and vengeance. Forgiveness leads to joy and serenity because it frees the heart from thoughts of death, whereas resentment and vengeance trouble the mind and wound the heart, robbing it of rest and peace.

Let us, then, pass through the Holy Door of Mercy knowing that at our side is the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Mother of God, who intercedes for us. Let us allow her to lead us to the rediscovery of the beauty of an encounter with her Son Jesus. Let us open wide the doors of our heart to the joy of forgiveness, conscious that we have been given new confidence and hope, and thus make our daily lives a humble instrument of God’s love.

And with the love and affection of children, let us cry out to Our Lady as did the faithful people of God in Ephesus during the historic Council: “Holy Mother of God!”

Watch Video of the Door opening below:


Leave a Reply

  1. most read post
  2. Most Commented
  3. Choose Categories