Cathedrals around Britain will open their Holy Doors over the weekend to mark the beginning of the Year of Mercy.
The celebrations began last Sunday in Liverpool with the opening of a Holy Door at the Metropolitan Cathedral.
This Sunday Holy Doors will open at Clifton Cathedral, Bristol, at Arundel Cathedral in West Sussex and at Prinknash Abbey in Gloucestershire, as in Westminster Cathedral.
Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury will open a Holy Door at St Anthony’s Church in Wythenshawe, Cheshire, on Saturday. The diocesan Holy Door will then transfer to Shrewsbury Cathedral at Easter.
Even the Church of England marked the start of the Year, with the opening of a Holy Door at Chichester Cathedral, attended by Bishop Richard Moth of Arundel and Brighton. An evening Mass scheduled to start the Year of Mercy at Lancaster Cathedral, however, was cancelled due to flooding.
In a pastoral letter Bishop Moth called for a renewal of Confession and for the diocese “to reach out to those who are estranged from the Church or who, for whatever reason, have not heard the message of the Gospel”.
The bishop said the Holy Door “must be a reminder to us of the door of the heart and the Gospel calls us to open the doors of our hearts and minds to the gift of mercy. We must be bearers of that mercy to the refugee, to the asylum seeker, to the prisoner and the victim of crime, to the one who is homeless, to the one who may have a roof over their head but seeks the peace and mercy that comes in knowing Christ. The Corporal Works of Mercy (our responses to the physical needs of our brothers and sisters) and the Spiritual Works of Mercy are central themes for this Jubilee Year.”
In Saint Barnabas’ Cathedral in Nottingham, 100 priests and 500 representatives from parishes, chaplaincies, religious houses and schools from across the East Midlands gathered at Mass on Tuesday to open the Holy Door, while Bishop Mark O’Toole will open the Holy Door at Plymouth Cathedral this Sunday.