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Holy door closes but keep hearts open

The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, inaugurated by Pope Francis on the feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8) last year, will be completed when he closes the holy door in St. Peter’s Basilica on the feast of Christ the King (November 20).

In Hong Kong, the diocese is celebrating closing Masses for the Jubilee at the seven designated churches or chapels between November 6 and November 13.

Throughout the whole year, the universal Church has designated several pilgrimage sites and organised many activities enabling people to deepen their contemplation on God’s mercy and experience the privilege of grace.

The programme has encouraged a greater openness in social outreach as a witness to and proclamation of mercy.

Looking back on the past year, the Diocesan Ad Hoc Committee for the Jubilee of Mercy has endeavoured to promote a number of large-scale activities at the diocesan level. However, the most joyful news is the enthusiastic participation at the parish, association and personal level.

In particular, the seven pilgrimage sites have gained much through their preparation to welcome groups. Overall, the Year of Mercy has not only had a profound personal effect on people, but added to their understanding of what pilgrimage is and the value of community witness to faith.

It has been a popular time among people in the sense of participating in the Church’s language and gestures in communicating a sense of mercy (cf. Bull of Indiction, 12).

But while the holy door of the Jubilee of Mercy is about to close, “He (God) never tires of casting open the doors of his heart” (25). Therefore, as long as we turn to him, his mercy is always open to us.

But this is not just a one-off year and there is a challenge to everyone to continue to live the Year of Mercy in their lives. A strong recommendation is regular use of the sacrament of reconciliation.

With the help of this sacrament, which best reveals God’s mercy, despite our repeated failures, we are still determined to be reconciled with him and believe that his mercy is always greater than human sin.

We should also continue to be generous in our caring outreach, showing our concern for the poor, the sick and the miserable, as well as speaking out boldly to uphold justice and in defence of the disadvantaged. Whatever we do, we must always share, bear witness and preach with a merciful heart.

At the start of the Jubilee Year, the pope explained that he chose the feast of Christ the King to celebrate the closing ceremony, because he hoped to “entrust the life of the Church, all humanity, and the entire cosmos to the Lordship of Christ, asking him to pour out his mercy upon us like the morning dew, so that everyone may work together to build a brighter future” (5).

May our hearts always remain open at the closing of the holy year! SE