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Opening of Holy Doors is an ‘invitation to joy’, says Pope Francis

Pope Francis opens the Holy Door of the Basilica of St John Lateran (CNS)

Pope Francis opened the Holy Door of the Basilica of St John Lateran on Sunday and said doing so was an “invitation to joy”.

On the same day Holy Doors were opened throughout cathedrals and churches to mark the start of the Year of Mercy, which began on December 8 and will conclude on November 20 2016 on the Feast of Christ the King.

Pope Francis celebrated Mass at the basilica in Rome and during his homily he discussed the “simple sign” of opening the Holy Doors.

“It begins a time of the great forgiveness. It is the Jubilee of Mercy. It is time to rediscover the presence of God and his fatherly tenderness,” he said, according to Vatican Radio.

The Pope also warned against being “taken in by weariness” and “sadness in any form” despite “many concerns and the many forms of violence which hurt our humanity.”

“In a historical context of great abuse and violence, especially by men of power, God knows that He will reign over his people, who would never leave them at the mercy of the arrogance of their leaders, and will free them from all anxiety,” he added.