Five Pilgrimage sites around our diocese
By ceremonially pushing open the Holy Door in St. Peter’s Basilica on Dec. 8, Pope Francis set into motion the Church-wide Jubilee Year of Mercy.
One aspect of the Church-wide Jubilee the Pope called for is the designation of Holy Doors in dioceses throughout the world, to help people experience God’s mercy and the spiritual benefits of this jubilee year more fully.
“The Holy Door will become a Door of Mercy through which anyone Who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instils hope,” Pope Francis wrote in “Misericordiae Vultus” (“The Face of the Father’s Mercy”), the document in which he announced the extraordinary jubilee year.
Bishop John R. Gaydos decreed in October of this year that the Cathedral of St. Joseph; St. Peter Church in Brush Creek; St. Joseph Church in Edina; the National Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Church, in Laurie; and the Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows in Starkenburg would be pilgrimage sites for the Jubilee Year.
People making a sacred pilgrimage to any of those sites and participating devoutly at a liturgical celebration or other pious exercise there can gain a plenary indulgence.
A plenary indulgence wholly frees a person from the temporal punishment due for sins, the guilt of which has already been forgiven (Code of Canon Law, canons 992 and 993).
The faithful person making such a pilgrimage must also have fulfilled the usual conditions for gaining a plenary indulgence by celebrating the sacraments of penance and the Eucharist, manifesting communion with the Church by prayer for the intention of the Roman Pontiff, and performing acts of charity and penance meant to express true conversion of heart.
The rule that a plenary indulgence can be gained only once a day remains in force during the entire Jubilee Year (cf. Enchiridion indulgentiarum, 1986, Norm 21, 1).
After worthily receiving sacramental confession, which ordinarily must be individual and complete according to the norm of canon 960 of the Code of Canon Law, each member of the faithful, having fulfilled the required conditions, can receive personally or apply for the intention of the dead the gift of the plenary indulgence during a suitable period of time, even daily, without needing to go to confession again.
It is fitting, however, that the faithful should frequently receive the grace of the Sacrament of Penance in order to grow in conversion and purity of heart (see “Enchiridion indulgentiarum,” Norm 23, 1-2).
Participation in the Eucharist, which is required for all indulgences, should properly take place on the same day as the prescribed works are performed (see “Enchiridion indulgentiarum,” Norm 23, 3).
Door of Mercy
In order to experience and obtain the indulgence, the faithful are called to make:
A brief pilgrimage to the Holy Door, open in every cathedral and in the churches designated by the bishop, and in the four Papal Basilicas in Rome, as a sign of the deep desire for true conversion.
The indulgence may be obtained in the shrines in which the Door of Mercy is open and in the churches which traditionally are identified as Jubilee Churches.
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;
•with the profession of faith and with prayer for the Pope
•and for the intentions that the Pope holds for the good of the Church and of the entire world.
Additionally, for whom it will be impossible to enter the Holy Door, particularly the sick and people who are elderly and alone, often confined to the home:
•To live their sickness and suffering as an experience of closeness to the Lord Who in the mystery of His Passion, Death and Resurrection indicates the royal road which gives meaning to pain and loneliness;
•Living with faith and joyful hope this moment of trial;
•Receiving Holy Communion or attending Holy Mass and community prayer, even through the various means of communication, will be for them the means of obtaining the Jubilee indulgence.
For those in prison
For the incarcerated, whose freedom is limited, conscious of the injustice they worked and sincerely wishing to re-enter society and make their honest contribution to it — they may obtain the indulgence in the chapels of the prisons.
By the gesture of directing their thought and prayer to the Father each time they cross the threshold of their cell, they can signify for them their passage through the Holy Door, because the mercy of God is able to transform hearts and is also able to transform bars into an experience of freedom.
Works of Mercy
Each time one of the faithful personally performs one or more of the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy, he or she shall surely obtain the Jubilee indulgence.
Hence, the commitment to live by mercy so as to obtain the grace of complete and exhaustive forgiveness by the power of the love of the Father Who excludes no one.
The Corporal Works of Mercy include: to feed the hungry; to give drink to the thirsty; to clothe the naked; to shelter the homeless; to visit the sick; to ransom the captive; and to bury the dead.
The Spiritual Works of Mercy include: to instruct the ignorant; to counsel the doubtful; to admonish sinners; to bear wrongs patiently; to forgive offenses willingly; to comfort the afflicted; and to pray for the living and the dead.
Communion of Saints
The Jubilee indulgence can also be obtained for the deceased by remembering them in the Eucharistic celebration; praying for them the great mystery of the Communion of Saints, that the merciful face of the Father will free them of every remnant of fault and strongly embrace them in unending beatitude.