Cardinal Vincent Nichols opened the Door of Mercy in Westminster Cathedral on Sunday to mark the beginning of the Year of Mercy.
Cardinal Nichols was joined by the Cathedral Chapters and the Chaplains of the Cathedral for the opening that took place during Vespers, with the congregation invited to follow them through the Holy Door.
Pope Francis began the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which will end on November 20 2016, by opening a Holy Door at St Peter’s Basilica on December 8. Holy Doors were opened throughout cathedrals and churches in the UK and the rest of the world on Sunday.
In the Diocese of East Anglia Bishop Alan Hopes opened the Holy Door at St John the Baptist Cathedral in Norwich and invited the 400-strong congregation, which included representatives from every parish in the Diocese, to walk through it with him.
A second Holy Door was also opened at the Slipper Chapel at the National Shrine of Our Lady in Walsingham by Shrine Rector, Mgr John Armitage.
Speaking in a Catholic Bishops’ Conference Advent podcast, Bishop Hopes said: “The Year of Mercy is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the whole idea of mercy both in the scriptures and in the liturgy of the Church. And particularly the way in which compassion, love and mercy should be part of the church’s pastoral care of the people of God and those on the margins.
“The main Holy Door within the Diocese at the Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Norwich will be open all year for people to make pilgrimage and walk through it.”
He added: “Going through the Holy Door is such an important thing. It is the opening into the very heart of God’s mercy really. People will be encouraged to make the pilgrimage through the door, make their confession (there will be priests in the Cathedral to hear them), and think about some of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy that they can carry out in their own lives.”
Bishop Hopes also revealed that during the Year of Mercy he will be visiting each of the 11 prisons across his diocese to celebrate Mass and the Sacrament of Reconciliation with the prisoners.