Patricia A. Merlo, M.P.M.

 Holy door or porta sancta has been used since the fifteenth century as a ritual expression of conversion. Pilgrims and penitents pass through it as a gesture of leaving the past behind and crossing the threshold from sin to grace, from slavery to freedom, and from darkness to light. Often these rituals are associated with prayer, pilgrimage, sacrifice, confession, and indulgences,

But the door finds meaning only when the believer associates the door with Christ. Jesus is the Door! In the words of Pope Francis,

“There is only one way that opens wide the entrance into the life of communion with God: this is Jesus, the on and absolute way to salvation, To him alone can the words of the Psalmist be applied in full truth:’This is the door of the Lord where the just may enter’(Ps 118:29).”

In speaking of the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis said the Holy Door represents a symbolic pilgrimage, the journey each of us makes in life. “May this pilgrimage be an impetus to conversion; by crossing the threshold of the Hold Door, we will find the strength to embrace God’s mercy and dedicate ourselves to be merciful with others as the Father has been with us.”

Unique to this year of Mercy is that Pope Francis has requested that there will be a hold Door of Mercy in every Diocese in the world, specifically at all diocesan cathedrals and other designated churches around the world. These doors are available locally in order to allow the faithful in every part of th world to experience the Mery of the Father in its fullness.


At the beginning of the holy year on Dec. 8 [2015], Pope Francis opened the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican to signal the inauguration of a special year of grace and pardon. When the Holy Door opened, Pope Francis said it “will become a Door of Mercy through which anyohne who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instills hope.”

All other Holy Doors of Mercy around the world opened Dec. 13 [2015] and will remain symbolically open throughout the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

 [Check with your local diocese for the locations and times your Holy Doors will be open.].

Pope Francis has offered the faithful the opportunity to receive plenary indulgences by making a pilgrimage to designated churches around the world where there will be a Holy Door of Mercy.


Source: Pamphlet titled Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy produced by the Diocese of Venice, FL

(Page Last Updated 5/13/2016)

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