Pope Francis has proclaimed an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, and began the year by opening the ceremonial Holy Doors at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome on Dec. 8, 2015. On the following Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, Cathedrals around the world joined in solidarity with Rome by opening their own Doors of Mercy, as the privilege of offering a Holy Door was granted to Cathedral churches worldwide, for the first time.
At the Cathedral of the Holy Family in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, the great central doors of the main worship space have been designated as Holy Doors of Mercy. A special Opening Rite was celebrated at the 6:30 p.m. Mass on the third Sunday of Advent, Dec. 13, 2015 at the Cathdral of the Holy Family, located at 123 Nelson Road, Saskatoon. Over the doors is the motto of Bishop Donald Bolen: "Mercy within mercy within mercy." On the inside doors are lists of the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.
Holy Doors were also blessed and opened at St. Paul's Co-Cathedral, the diocese's original cathedral, located at 720 Spadina Cres East, Saskatoon, in a celebration at the 10 a.m. Eucharist on Dec. 13, with Rev. Pius Schroh presiding.
Throughout the Year of Mercy until their official closure of the doors on Nov. 13, 2016, local parishioners and visitors to the two cathedrals will be able to enter through the Doors of Mercy. (The doors will be accessible during regular operating hours.)
“To experience and obtain the Jubilee indulgence, the faithful are called to make a brief pilgrimage to the Holy Door as a sign of the deep desire for true conversion. It is important that this moment be linked, first and foremost, to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and to the celebration of the Holy Eucharist with a reflection on mercy. It will be necessary to accompany these celebrations with the profession of faith and prayer for me and for the intentions that I bear in my heart for the good of the Church and of the entire world.” – Pope Francis.
A Jubilee Year is a special year called by the Church for blessings and pardon from God and remission of sins. For over 600 years, the Holy Doors at St. Peter’s and four other papal churches in Rome have been opened every 25 or 30 years for Jubilee celebrations and then re-sealed at the conclusion of the year. Pilgrims entering through the doors seek to receive the special graces offered to the faithful on these occasions.
Pope Francis has extended his wish that the Jubilee be a living experience with the closeness of the Father: “I am confident that the whole Church, which is in such need of mercy for we are sinners, will be able to find in this Jubilee the joy of rediscovering and rendering fruitful God’s mercy, with which we are all called to give comfort to every man and every woman of our time. Do not forget that God forgives all, and God forgives always. Let us never tire of asking forgiveness. Let us henceforth entrust this Year to the Mother of Mercy, that she turn her gaze upon us and watch over our journey: our penitential journey, our year-long journey with an open heart, to receive the indulgence of God, to receive the mercy of God.”
Panels on the doors at the Cathedral of the Holy Family:
Holy doors at St. Paul's Co-Cathedral: