Pope Francis has declared the celebration of an extraordinary Holy year. This “Jubilee of Mercy” will commence on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, and will conclude on November 20, 2016 with the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. On December 13, Pope Francis will open the Holy Door at the Basilica of St. John Lateran and invites 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 door depicts scenes from the New Testament, including the Baptism of Jesus, the Sermon on the Mount, the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection. The door is topped by a mosaic of Jesus, the Good Shepherd and bronze figures of the twelve apostles.
“Bishop Noonan has designated the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe as the location of the diocesan Holy Door because of its significance as a minor basilica and as a place of pilgrimage, attracting thousands of pilgrims each year,” explains Bruce Croteau, director of liturgy for the Diocese of Orlando. “These pilgrims will encounter the merciful embrace of the Father on their path of conversion.”
A holy door has been used since the fifteenth century to symbolize conversion. Pilgrims enter the door as a sign of leaving the past behind and crossing the threshold from sin to grace. During the Year of Mercy the faithful are encouraged to make a pilgrimage to their local Holy Door to encounter the mercy of God.
In Misericordiae Vultus (The Face of Mercy), Pope Francis explains, “…the Holy Door will become a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instills hope.”
In preparation of the Year of Mercy, the door at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe will be sealed on Sunday, November 1. In communion with Rome, the door will be opened by Bishop Noonan on Sunday, December 13 at the 6:00 p.m. Mass. All are welcome to attend.