1. Is this the first time the pope is asking dioceses around the world to open their own Holy Door?
Unique to this Year of Mercy is that Pope Francis has requested that there will be a Holy Door of Mercy in every diocese around the world. The Holy Door at the Vatican is located to the right of St. Peter Basilica’s main entrance. Between Holy Years (Jubilees) it remains sealed with bricks as a symbolic reminder of the barrier of sin between humanity and God. While historically, we can’t say for sure this is the first time for other dioceses to participate, it appears that this is the first time in recent history (the last 4 popes, this would be true). Also, some parishes will open similar Holy Doors of Mercy to welcome all people to experience God’s great gift of mercy.
2. Why has the central bronze door of the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe been designated as the Holy Door of Mercy in the Diocese of Orlando?
The Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe is a place of pilgrimage. Thousands of visitors – from Central Florida, the country and the world – converge upon this church located in the heart of the tourism district each week. Pilgrimage is a journey with a purpose and the purpose here is to grow closer to Jesus Christ through the Sacraments, prayer and community. The Sacrament of Penance (also called Confession) is offered Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday: 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Daily Mass is celebrated twice a day and five times each weekend. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is available Monday through Saturday: 8:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Adoration Chapel.
3. What will happen specifically with the door opening?
Before the start of the 6 p.m. Mass, Bishop John Noonan will stand outside of the Holy Door along with members of the congregation. Deacon David Gray will proclaim the Gospel of Luke chapter 15:-1-7 (the parable of the lost sheep); Then Bishop will proclaim “This is the Lord’s gate: let us enter through it and obtain mercy and forgiveness.”; Then the Bishop, holding the Gospel of the Lord, will lead the faithful through the newly opened Holy Door of Mercy and he will celebrate the Mass.