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The Holy Door is open

In China

The Jubilee Year of Mercy has been taken up with enthusiasm in the Church in China. 

Several bishops have addressed the subject in pastoral letters to their people and in individual communities there has been an up in the number of pilgrimages and prayer gatherings to reflect on the reality of the way mercy is practiced among their numbers.

In a Church that has long prioritised visitation of the sick, people who are isolated in their homes and those who struggle to make ends meet, the virtue of mercy is seen as being an important part of the overall witness to the faith.

On a more organised level, the proliferation of Church orphanages and homes that look after elderly people, as well as the disabled, especially abandoned children with disabilities, makes the theme of the year promulgated by Pope Francis ring true in all Church communities on the mainland.

Fides reports that the formal opening of the Holy Door ceremony has been carried out in most dioceses.

Over 5,000 people gathered in Zhouzhi, in the province of Sha’anxi, for the formal opening of the Jubilee Year at the cathedral by Bishop Wu Qinjing on December 8.

In the same diocese, on December 12 and 13, Holy Doors were opened at ceremonies held at the Shrine of the Cross and a sanctuary dedicated to Our Lady of China.

In Wenzhou in Zhejiang, as well as in Zhengzhou in Henan, Zhanjang in Guangdong, Chengdu in Sichuan, and many other parts of China, similar ceremonies were held.

Haimen, Jiangsu province, chose the theme of inculturation for its celebration of the Jubilee of Mercy, combining the celebration with the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the first missionaries in the region and the 90th anniversary of the diocese.

The Holy Door at the cathedral and the official Marian shrine of the diocese were opened on December 13.

In his pastoral letter entitled, God, rich in mercy (Ephesians 2:4), the apostolic administrator of the diocese of Harbin, stressed the importance of “looking at God’s face,” saying that mercy is inclusive, and we must remember that it demands repentance for the indifference of society and Church communities towards the weak.


In Manila

Luis Cardinal Tagle, accompanied by representatives of the Urban Poor in Manila and former street children, whom Pope Francis had met during his visit to the country in January, officially opened the Jubilee Year of Mercy in The Philippines on December 9 with the opening the Holy Door at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

The ceremony began with a prayer service at the Plaza Roma, in Manila, located in front of the cathedral, at 3.00pm. A procession made up of the poor of the city then made its way to the cathedral as a symbol of a nation whose face is scarred by poverty.

“Instead of the cardinal alone, he was accompanied by a poor family, some young people and others with disabilities as he pushed open the Holy Door,” the rector of the newly-renovated cathedral said.

Doors were also opened at separate ceremonies at the National Shrine of the Sacred Heart, Makati City; Santuario de Santo Cristo, San Juan City; the Shrine of the Divine Mercy, Mandaluyong City; and Our Lady of Sorrows in Pasay City.

Cardinal Tagle called for an end to the rampant, endemic corruption, which serves to keep the vast bulk of the people in dire poverty and enrich an elite few.

“Stop the rampant corruption. Stop the abuse of women and children. Spread mercy, stop the endless abuse of the weak,” the archbishop of Manila said during a Mass celebrated to mark the event.

Cardinal Tagle also challenged the faithful to make God’s mercy more evident in the world today.

“This year we have a mission,” he said. “The mission is to spread mercy… a mission to build up the world on the foundation to build God’s love. Let us build a society on the foundation of the merciful Jesus and let one of us be a stone of a construction of a just, truthful and loving society of mercy.”

Cardinal Tagle urged the people not only to enter through the Holy Doors of cathedrals and basilicas, but also to go through doors of charity of the homeless, the poor, the imprisoned and the sick.

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