The Holy Door: Christ the Door of Mercy

By Rev. Michael Chrisman, Director of Worship
The tradition of a Holy Door in a church during a Jubilee year is one that dates back as early as Christmas 1499. It was on Christmas Eve of that year, in which Pope Alexander VI declared the year 1500 a Jubilee Year. During that year of Jubilee, the Basilicas of St. John Lateran; the Cathedral Basilica of the Bishop of Rome, St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Mary Major and St. Paul Outside the Walls all dedicated a door in the church as a Holy Door or porta sancta1.

A Holy Door is a rich symbol of Christ who, in the Gospel of John is the gate that the sheep enter through and go out finding rich pasture.2 As part of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has requested that a Holy Door be designated as available to people for a sacred pilgrimage. In this coming Year of Mercy we are reminded that Jesus of Nazareth, by his words, his actions, and his entire person reveals the mercy of God. Jesus is the Door of Mercy.

The Door of Mercy is open for all who seek to enter. For those who pass through this door, the very act of passage expresses an internal desire for conversion as one seeks to cross over the threshold of Christ—from sin to grace, slavery to freedom, from darkness to light. Therefore the Pope has declared that entering the door of mercy in this year of Jubilee will be a sacred pilgrimage. When one crosses this threshold, one is greeted by the loving experience of a God who consoles, pardons and instills in us a future full of hope.3

For the Year of Mercy, Bishop Berg has designated five Holy Doors throughout the Diocese of Pueblo that will be linked to the Holy Door at the Lateran Basilica in Rome. Within the Jubilee Year, one can make pilgrimage to pass through the Holy Door, here in the Diocese, and receive the same indulgence and spiritual benefits as though passing through the Holy Door in Rome.

The locations of the Holy Doors of Mercy are:

• The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Pueblo
• Our Lady of Guadalupe/ St. Patrick Parish, La Junta
• Capilla de Todos Los Santos, San Luis
• Sacred Heart Parish, Durango
• Immaculate Heart of Mary

Parish, Grand Junction The Holy Doors will be opened to inaugurate the Jubilee Year of Mercy on December 13, 2015 the same day Pope Francis will open the Holy Door of Mercy at the Lateran Basilica in Rome.

1“The Opening of the Holy Door of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000,” an article by Archbishop Piero Matini, Titular Bishop of Martirano and former Papal Master of Liturgical Celebrations. Vatican City, December 1, 1999.
2John 10:7-10
3Jer. 29:11.