Westminster, UK (Monday, December 14, 2015, Gaudium Press) At Vespers on Sunday 13 December, Cardinal Vincent opened the Door of Mercy at Westminster Cathedral to mark the beginning of the Year of Mercy in the diocese. He was joined by the Cathedral Chapters and the Chaplains of the Cathedral. During Vespers the congregation were invited to follow through the Holy Door after Cardinal Vincent.
This will be the principal Holy Door for the diocese. Other churches throughout Westminster diocese which been granted permission for a Holy Door include: Holy Trinity in Brook Green; St Peter’s Italian Church in Clerkenwell, St Dominic’s in Haverstock Hill, Our Lady and St Joseph in Kingsland, St Anselm and St Cecilia in Lincoln Inn’s Fields, Our Lady of the Rosary in Marylebone, St Patrick’s in Soho Square, St William of York in Stanmore, English Martyrs in Tower Hill, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and St Joseph in Waltham Cross, Our Lady Queen of Apostles in Welwyn Garden City and the Shrine of Our Lady of Willesden.
The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy (Latin: Iubilaeum Extraordinarium Misericordiae) is a Roman Catholic period of prayer held from the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8), 2015 to the Feast of Christ the King (November 20), 2016.
Like previous jubilees, it’s seen by the Church as a period for remission of sins and universal pardon, in this occasion focusing particularly on God’s forgiveness and mercy. It is an extraordinary Jubilee because it had not been predetermined long before; usually ordinary jubilees take place every 25 years. The 2016 Jubilee was first announced by Pope Francis on March 13, 2015. It was declared by Pope Francis in his April 2015 papal bull of indiction, Misericordiae Vultus (Latin: “The Face of Mercy”). It is the 27th holy year in history, following the ordinary 2000 Jubilee during John Paul II papacy. The opening day was also the fiftieth anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council.
In prior months it was stressed that the Pontiff wishes the Jubilee to be celebrated not only in Rome but all around the world; for the first time holy doors are going to be opened in single dioceses, either in the main cathedral or in local historical churches. The first holy door was open by Pope Francis in Bangui on November 29, 2015 during a tour in Africa. It was also announced that all priests (during the Jubilee year – ending November 20, 2016) will be allowed to grant absolution for abortion, which outside North America is reserved to bishops.
The Jubilee of Mercy was formally declared through the papal bull Misericordiæ Vultus, issued on April 11, 2015, which emphasizes the importance of mercy and the need to “gaze” on it; the bull also recalls the need for the Church to be more open, keeping alive the spirit of the Second Vatican Council.
The holy doors of the major basilicas of Rome (including the Great Door of St. Peter’s) were opened, and special “Doors of Mercy” were opened at cathedrals and other major churches around the world. The opening of the holy door at St. Peter’s was the first time two popes were present, as Pontiff Emeritus Benedict attended at Pope Francis’ invitation.
By passing through the holy doors the faithful can earn indulgences by fulfilling the usual conditions of prayer for the Pope’s intentions, confession, and detachment from sin, and communion. During Lent of that year, special 24-hour penance services will be celebrated, and during the year, special qualified and experienced priests called “Missionaries of Mercy” will be available in every diocese to forgive even severe, special-case sins normally reserved to the Holy See’s Apostolic Penitentiary.
In the bull, Pope Francis states about the opening of the holy door: “the Holy Door will become a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instils hope”.
Source Independent Catholic News and Wikipedia