Bishop Noonan will open the Holy Door at 6:00 pm on December 13th in unity with Pope Francis who will open a Holy Door at the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome. Pope Francis invited dioceses around the world to open their own local Holy Door of special significance. In the Diocese of Orlando, Bishop Noonan has designated the central bronze door at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe in Orlando to be the Holy Door during the Year of Mercy. The Holy Door will become a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters is invited to experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instills hope.
In one month, Christians from around the world will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. On Christmas many people will open gifts placed under the tree by a loved one.
There is one gift that will not be under the tree but is given to each person not just on Christmas but every day. The gift of God’s mercy.
To bring greater awareness to God’s gift of mercy, Pope Francis has declared the celebration of an extraordinary Holy year. This “Jubilee of Mercy” will commence on December 8, and conclude on November 20, 2016.
“The gift of mercy is experienced in the most perfect way by reconnecting with Jesus Christ. Those who are away from the church, those who haven’t received the Sacrament of Penance in a long time, are invited to come back and experience God’s mercy in their life,” said Bishop John Noonan, shepherd of close to 400,000 registered Catholics in nine counties of Central Florida.
A holy door has been used since the fifteenth century as a ritual expression of conversion. Pilgrims and penitents pass through it as a gesture of leaving the past behind and crossing the threshold from sin to grace, from slavery to freedom, and from darkness to light. Often these rituals are associated with prayer, pilgrimage, sacrifice, and confession. But the door finds meaning only when the believer associates the door with Christ. Jesus is the Door!
In teaching about the Door of Mercy, Pope Francis said: “As we approach the Jubilee: there will be the Holy Door, but it is the door of God’s great mercy. There will also be the door of our heart, to receive all God’s forgiveness and to give ours in turn, welcoming all those who knock on our door”.