On December 19 at 11:00 AM, our parish was the site for a special Mass for the Holy Year of Mercy, including the rite for the Opening of a Holy Door. Daniel Cardinal Dinardo presided at this Mass, which designated our parish as a pilgrimage site during the Year of Mercy.
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What is the Year of Mercy?
On May 15, 2015, Pope Francis announced an extraordinary jubilee, a Holy Year of Mercy from December 8, 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception until November 20, 2016, the Sunday dedicated to Christ the King.
“We constantly need to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it.
– Pope Francis
Pope Francis invites us to think about mercy anew as the “act by which God comes to meet us” but also mercy as the “fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life”. He invites us to live by this mercy in our parishes and lives, to forgive others as well as to seek reconciliation. He challenges us to understand mercy and justice as “two dimensions of the same reality” on the way of conversion of the sinner towards love.
The Holy Door of Mercy at St. Theresa Catholic Church
In accord with Misericordiae vultus, the Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, paragraph 3, Cardinal DiNardo has decreed that a Holy Door be opened at specific churches, which will serve also as pilgrimage sites during the Holy Year. Our parish is honored to have been among those selected as pilgrimage sites. Via the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston:
Pope Francis has declared a Jubilee Year of Mercy to allow us us to focus on and deepen our gratitude for the loving mercy of God. As with all jubilee years, the Year of Mercy will include the use of a Holy Door, a specially designated entrance that has spiritual and symbolic meaning for Catholics.
In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, passing through a Holy Door is part of the pilgrimage that all Catholics are encouraged to make, whether during a trip to Rome or a trip to the cathedrals or specially designated churches in their own dioceses. These pilgrimages come with special graces, and they allow each of us to share in the many blessings of the Holy Year.
Links for the Year of Mercy and the Holy Doors at St. Theresa
Learn more about the Year of Mercy, indulgences, and other Catholic teaching about the works of mercy.
Read the letter from Daniel Cardinal Dinardo designating St. Theresa as a pilgrimage site and providing details about the Holy Doors.
Resources for the Year of Mercy via Dynamic Catholic
Get directions to St. Theresa Catholic Church.
Video Coverage of the Year of Mercy
Prayers for the Year of Mercy
Pope Francis’ Prayer for the Year of Mercy
Lord Jesus Christ,
You have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father,
and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him.
Show us your face and we will be saved.
Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money;
the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things;
made Peter weep after his betrayal,
and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.
Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman:
“If you knew the gift of God!”
You are the visible face of the invisible Father,
of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy:
let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.
You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness
in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error:
let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.
Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing,
so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord,
and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor,
proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed, and restore sight to the blind.
We ask this through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy,
you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.