15 Dec 2015

Holy Door opens at Knock Shrine

Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary has opened a ‘Holy Door’ at Knock Shrine as Catholics across the world have started to observe and celebrate Pope Francis’ ‘Year of Mercy’.

The world’s media and tens of thousands of people gathered in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome on December 8 to watch Pope Francis open the Holy Door, a tradition that dates back to the 1400s.

Since then, Holy Doors have been opening at cathedrals and major sites of pilgrimage around the world, including one at Knock Shrine, to observe the Pope’s special year of faith.

Pope Francis has called the Holy Year – also known as a Jubilee – to encourage Catholics worldwide to be more merciful and practice forgiveness, compassion and good deeds.

Knock Shrine’s Holy Door takes the form of a specially commissioned white archway, leading to the Chapel of Reconciliation.

Speaking at Knock Shrine on the opening of the Holy Year, Archbishop Neary said there is an ever greater need for Mercy in a contemporary society, where despite many advances, “a sense of unease, a sense of powerlessness and vulnerability are quite prevalent.”

“The concept of mercy may be quite alien in many ways to contemporary society and this makes it all the more imperative for Christians to proclaim God’s mercy to the world,” said Archbishop Neary.

“Being merciful like the Father is the motto of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.”

Fr Richard Gibbons, PP and Rector at Knock Shrine, said the act of pilgrimage is an important element of a Holy Year.

“Pope Francis has asked Catholics everywhere to make a pilgrimage to reach a Holy Door because it represents the journey each of us makes in life,” outlined Fr Gibbons.

“The Arch of Mercy at Knock Shrine is a Holy Door and a symbol for the spiritual renewal which pilgrims are urged to experience during the Jubilee of Mercy.

“We anticipate many pilgrims making that special journey to Knock during this Holy Year.”

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