Opening Doors – A chance for a new start
When Pope Francis established a Year of Mercy, he adapted a symbol that the Catholic Church has used for centuries. In the past, the Holy Door was reserved to the principal church in Rome; pilgrims travelled there to demonstrate their faith and commitment. In medieval times this represented a significant commitment of time and energy. For our modern age, this ancient symbol needed to be re-cast. Pope Francis has asked all the Bishops’ Conferences world-wide to have a Holy Door in each diocese, in each cathedral and other important churches and shrines. This recognises that most people are not able to travel to Rome. People would be encouraged to demonstrate their desire to make a new start in their local community. For some Catholics, passing through a Holy Door marks their wish to return to a faith that had been part of their earlier life. For other people, the Holy Door represents an invitation to explore becoming part of the Catholic Church.
It might seem that the attraction of the Holy Door is only for non-practising Catholics or those who want to become Catholics. This is not the case. In his writings since becoming Pontiff, Pope Francis has emphasised the role of all Catholics to be involved in the missionary work of the Church. By our baptism we are anointed as “priest, prophet and king” – the role of the prophet is to speak about God to others, to fulfil the command of Jesus, “Go, teach all nations”. Before anyone is likely to become a follower of Jesus, or a member of any church, they need to receive the Good News that God loves them and is always willing to forgive their sins and accept them just as they are. All of us have a responsibility to the community to offer this Good News.
The week of 19 th -23 rd September will be “mercy week” across the Archdiocese of Cardiff. Each day there will be special events at one of the Holy Door churches. Members of the local community will be invited to come to a simple meal where they will hear a message about God’s love. At the end of the meal, guests will have an option to pass through the Holy Door and take part in a simple prayer service declaring God’s loving mercy for them.
How will these guests know they are invited to this meal? Simple! You are asked to pass on the invitation. Parishes and schools close to each Holy Door church will be sent invitation cards early in September, cards which you can pass on to anyone who knows you and trusts you. It’s a simple and safe invitation to a meal, appropriate to the time of day, where someone will answer the question, “Why has Pope Francis opened a door in a church near you?”
Holy Door meals will take place at the following venues:
19/09/2016 – Belmont Abbey, Hereford 1.00pm / 6.30pm 01432 263575
20/09/2016 – St Aloysius, Merthyr Tydfil (with shuttle bus to St Mary’s after food)
21/09/2016 – St Mary’s, Stow Hill, Newport 4.00pm / 7.00pm 01633 265533
22/09/2016 – St Mary’s, Ewenny Road, Bridgend 4.00pm / 7.00pm 07854674786
23/09/2016 – St David’s Cathedral, Cardiff 1.30pm / 5.00pm / 7.30pm 02920360044
If you wish to offer practical support to the event at your local Door of Mercy, please call one of the contact numbers above.
If you’d like to come to a special prayer event to intercede for the success of this project, you are invited to the September Keep FIT for Mission sessions at St Philip Evans, Llanedeyrn Drive, Cardiff CF23 9UL at 1.30 p.m. and 7.30 p.m. on Monday 5 September.
October’s Keep FIT for Mission will be a training session on how parishes can make the most of Christmas as an opportunity to connect with non-Churchgoing Catholics and non-Catholics: same time, same venue, Monday 3 rd October. For further information contact Revd Gareth Leyshon, 029 2073 1061 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org