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Benedict XVI to attend Holy Door opening at start of Year of Mercy

Pope Francis with Benedict XVI (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano)

Benedict XVI will attend the ceremony for the opening of the Holy Door in St Peter’s Basilica tomorrow, marking the start of the Jubilee Holy Year of Mercy.

Pope Francis invited his predecessor to attend the ceremony, which will take place in the Atrium of the Basilica on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

The Holy Year of Mercy will end on November 20, next year, The Solemnity of Christ the King.

Tomorrow’s celebration will also mark the 50th anniversary of the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council, and will begin with readings from taken from the four conciliar constitutions (Dei Verbum, Lumen gentium, Sacrosanctum concilium e Gaudium et spes) along with two passages taken from, Unitatis redintegratio on ecumenism and Dignitatis humanae on religious liberty.

Last week it was announced that a Holy Door will be opened in every Catholic cathedral in the world for the first time to mark the Year of Mercy.

The doors will be opened on Sunday to coincide with the opening of the Holy Doors at the Cathedral of St John Lateran.

For the year 800 priests have put themselves forward as ‘Missionaries of Mercy’, and the Pope will perform a “symbolic gesture” of mercy once a month. On December 18 he will open a ‘Door of Mercy’ at a Caritas homeless hostel.

The Rosary will also be recited daily in St Peter’s Square in front of the statue of St Peter.

Pope Benedict has accepted the invitation of Pope Francis to attend several events in St Peter’s since his election, most recently on February, when he attended the last Consistory for the creation of new Cardinals.