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Melissa Cedarholm

What is a Holy Door

On September 13, 2015 we ended Mass by processing to these doors and we covered them with the image of the Divine Mercy. We paused and prayed for God’s mercy on all of us and declared the doors closed until December 13, 2015 when we will open these Holy Doors in celebration of the Holy Year of Mercy.


This is the first time in the history of the Basilica that we have been granted the privilege of a Holy Door. At least since the mid-15th C. a specific door in the major Basilicas in Rome was designated as a Holy Door which is only opened during a Holy Year. In order to avail the experience to the entire church Pope Francis has extended this privilege to all Cathedral churches. 


The custom of Holy Doors grew out of our human and spiritual experience of doors. When closed, they symbolize our sinful human condition epitomized by the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise. When opened, they symbolize how Jesus opened the gates to Paradise for us by virtue for his life, death and resurrection. In His own words: “I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.” (John 10:9)


As we await the opening of these Holy Doors on December 13 we pray:
Loving and eternal God,
whose mercies are without number
and whose goodness is infinite;
when we were lost and the doors of heaven were closed to us,
you sent into the world your Son, Jesus Christ,
the fountain of mercy and the portal to paradise.

Each time we pass this place and contemplate your kindness,
may we be drawn ever more deeply into the mystery of your mercy,
and the wonders of your love.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

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