The Year of Mercy, The Holy Door and Indulgences

Pope Francis, realising that most Catholics will not be able to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Door at St. Peter’s in Rome, has invited every Diocesan Bishop in the world to designate  a door of Mercy (a Holy Door) in their Cathedrals. Bishop Mark will bless and officially open the west door at the Cathedral on Sunday 13th December before Holy Mass at 10am. In announcing the Indulgence for the Holy Year of Mercy, Pope Francis called the faithful to make a brief pilgrimage to the Holy Door in their Cathedral and to fulfil the following conditions to gain the Indulgence – (a) celebrate the Sacrament of Confession; (b) receive Holy Communion; (c) make a brief pilgrimage to the Holy Door; (d) pray for the Pope’s intentions; (e) recite the Creed and (f) reflect on God’s Mercy at the shrine of Mercy at the Cathedral. To gain an Indulgence is to experience the Holiness of the Church, who bestows upon all the fruits of Christ’s redemption.  An Indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins where guilt has already been forgiven. Pope Francis puts it like this: “Despite being forgiven, the conflicting consequences of sin remain…….sin leaves a negative effect on the way we think and act. But the mercy of God is stronger even than this. It becomes indulgence on the part of the Father who, through the Bride of Christ, His Church, reaches the pardoned sinner and frees him from every residue of sin, enabling him to act with charity, to grow in love rather than to fall back into sin.” The Indulgence is available to Catholics in a state of grace who intend to gain the Indulgence. The Indulgence can be for the person concerned or it can be applied by them for the benefit of the Holy Souls. It is only possible to gain one Indulgence per day, but otherwise, we can obtain the indulgence throughout the Year of Mercy.