14. The practice of pilgrimage has a special place in the Holy Year, because it represents the journey each of us makes in this life. Life itself is a pilgrimage, and the human being is a viator, a pilgrim travelling along the road, making his way to the desired destination. Similarly, to reach the Holy Door in Rome or in any other place in the world, everyone, each according to his or her ability, will have to make a pilgrimage. This will be a sign that mercy is also a goal to reach and requires dedication and sacrifice. May pilgrimage be an impetus to conversion: by crossing the threshold of the Holy Door, we will find the strength to embrace God’s mercy and dedicate ourselves to being merciful with others as the Father has been with us.
22b. The Church lives within the communion of the saints. In the Eucharist, this communion, which is a gift from God, becomes a spiritual union binding us to the saints and blessed ones whose number is beyond counting (cf. Rev 7:4). Their holiness comes to the aid of our weakness in a way that enables the Church, with her maternal prayers and her way of life, to fortify the weakness of some with the strength of others. Hence, to live the indulgence of the Holy Year means to approach the Father’s mercy with the certainty that His forgiveness extends to the entire life of the believer. To gain an indulgence is to experience the holiness of the Church, who bestows upon all the fruits of Christ’s redemption, so that God’s love and forgiveness may extend everywhere. Let us live this Jubilee intensely, begging the Father to forgive our sins and to bathe us in His merciful “indulgence.”
What do we need to receive all that God has for us at a Door of Mercy?
• Come as a pilgrim to the Door of Mercy
• Willingness to turn away from all serious sin in our lives
• Receive sacramental Holy Communion that day (Mass or Communion Service)
• Go to the Sacrament of Penance sometime in the week leading up to your visit to the Holy Door, on the day, or in the week following your visit.
• Pray an Our Father
• Re-affirm your faith in God by praying either the Apostles Creed or the Nicene Creed
• Pray for the Pope
• Perform one of the spiritual or corporal works of Mercy
We can choose whether to apply this indulgenced gift of mercy to our own lives or to give it back to God in intercession for a holy soul in Purgatory.
Approaching the Holy Door
To approach any Holy Door of Mercy with pride and without reverence would be very wrong. That is why in Rome, in Jubilee Years, the pilgrims go down on their knees to cross the threshold of the Holy Door. Humility, contrition and trust in God's power to forgive and to heal are what need to fill our hearts as we go through the Holy Door.
(In my diocese there are 5 Holy Doors, one for each deanery which means that everyone in our long narrow diocese is not more than an hour's travel away from a Holy Door: Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral, Waitara; Our Lady of Dolours, Chatswood; St Mary's, Manly; Holy Cross, Kincumber and Our Lady of the Rosary, The Entrance.
Your own diocesan website should contain information about the Holy Doors in your diocese. Every diocesan cathedral has a Holy Door.)
Sacrament of Penance
Where each soul meets the Mercy of God personally, confesses their sins to God through the intermediary of the priest, expresses contrition, receives His merciful forgiveness, and is given a prayer penance or an action penance to assist in repairing the damage done by those sins to his/her relationship with God.
All of us are utterly unworthy to receive Jesus, body, blood, soul and divinity in the consecrated bread and consecrated wine, but He knowing our frailty mercifully gives us this great gift which unites us to Jesus and to all those who have ever partaken of this one bread and one cup, strengthening us in love and empowering us to become merciful like the Father.
This is the prayer Jesus taught us Himself. At the place of pilgrimage, set yourself close to the tabernacle or to a crucifix, and pray this prayer in union with Him.
Our Father, who art in heaven hallowed be Your Name;
Your kingdom come;
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.
'Repent, Believe, Receive' has been the pattern of receiving mercy and grace since Pentecost. Praying the Creed is where we reaffirm our faith and trust in God. Most churches with Holy Doors have an image of St Joseph, the man of faith, find that image and pray the Creed there.
I believe in God the Father Almighty,
he Creator of Heaven and Earth,
and in Jesus Christ His only Son, Our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended into Hell,
on the third day He rose again from the dead.
He ascended into Heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Holy Catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body
and life everlasting. Amen.
Pray for the Pope
Every church has an image of the Mother of Jesus. Find that image at your place of pilgrimage and pray with her for Pope Francis who has such tender devotion to her.
Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,
Hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve,
to thee do we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, O gracious advocate,
Thine eyes of mercy towards us,
and after this our exile,
show unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
Work of Mercy
Every church has a patron saint, or at least an image of a favourite saint eg St Mary McKillop, St Anthony of Padua, St Therese of Lisieux. One of the easiest works of mercy is to pray for the living and to pray for the dead. Find an image of a saint in your place of pilgrimage that means the most to you, and in union with this saint, spend some time praying for your loved ones.
While you are there, God may put on your heart a work of mercy He wants you to do, be open to that, and do it cheerfully.
The Corporal Works of Mercy
Feed the hungry ; Give drink to the thirsty ;
Clothe the naked ; Shelter the homeless ; Visit the sick ;
Visit the imprisoned ; Bury the dead
The Spiritual Works of Mercy
Admonish the sinner ; Instruct the ignorant ;
Counsel the doubtful ; Comfort the sorrowful ;
ear wrongs patiently ; Forgive all injuries
Pray for the living and the dead
Don't stop at one
God wants to pour out extraordinary graces during this Holy Year of Mercy. He is only limited by our response. So don't stop at visiting a Holy Door once, make time in your life to get to a Holy Door at least monthly, more often if you can. The more the Father's merciful indulgence is received, the more you, the whole church and the whole world will benefit.
St Padre Pio, pray for us
St John Vianney, pray for us
St Leopold Mandic, pray for us
St Philip Neri, pray for us
Below is a pamphlet which contains most of the information in this blog post, double-sided A4, tri-fold, share it around.