Our Diocese has two Jubilee Doors of Mercy. The first is at the Cathedral (photo on right) in Alexandria and the second is in Cornwall at Ste-Croix. One can enter through the doors prior to regularly scheduled weekday and weekend masses. Below are the other times you can access these special doors.
St. Finnan's Cathedral
The Jubilee Door of Mercy at St. Finnan's Cathedral will be closed by by Archbishop Terrence Prendergast at the 11:00 a.m. Mass on Sunday, November 6th.
For those who make a pilgrimage to the Door of Mercy at St. Finnan's Cathedral or at Ste-Croix who meet the requirements described below, a plenary indulgence may be obtained once a day.
What is an Indulgence?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains: The doctrine and practice of indulgences in the Church are closely linked to the effects of the sacrament of Penance.
"An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints."
"An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin." The faithful can gain indulgences for themselves or apply them to the dead. (CCC, 1471)
How Does One Receive an Indulgence During the Jubilee of Mercy?
Pope Francis explains in the Letter of his Holiness Pope Francis According to Which an Indulgence is Granted to the Faithful on the Occasion of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy:
I wish that the Jubilee Indulgence may reach each one as a genuine experience of God’s mercy, which comes to meet each person in the Face of the Father who welcomes and forgives, forgetting completely the sin committed.
To experience and obtain the Indulgence, the faithful are called to make a brief pilgrimage to the Holy Door, open in every Cathedral or in the churches designated by the Diocesan Bishop, and in the four Papal Basilicas in Rome, as a sign of the deep desire for true conversion.
Likewise, I dispose that the Indulgence may be obtained in the Shrines in which the Door of Mercy is open and in the churches which traditionally are identified as Jubilee Churches.
It is important that this moment be linked, first and foremost, to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and to the celebration of the Holy Eucharist with a reflection on mercy. It will be necessary to accompany these celebrations with the profession of faith and with prayer for me and for the intentions that I bear in my heart for the good of the Church and of the entire world.
The Requirements in Brief for Gaining a Plenary Indulgence:
A pamphlet is available by clicking here that summarizes this information and includes the texts of the necessary prayers as well as the Jubilee of Mercy Prayer by Pope Francis. It may be downloaded and freely used by parishes and individuals.
On December 8, 2015, Pope Francis marked the beginning of the Special Jubilee Year of Mercy, when he opened the Holy Door at St. Peter’s in Rome. In addition, it is his wish “that in every local church, at the cathedral – the mother church of the faithful in any particular area – or, alternatively, at the co-cathedral or another church of special significance, a Door of Mercy will be opened for the duration of the Holy Year.” (M.V. #3)
Where Does This Custom Originate?
On December 24, 1499, Pope Alexander was the first to inaugurate a Holy Year, the year 1500, by opening a special door. The tradition of the pope knocking three times on the door with a silver hammer prior to opening it has symbolic meaning: Moses striking the rock so that water would pour out miraculously to quench the thirst of the people (Numbers 20:11); the earthquake that freed St. Paul from prison (Acts 16:26); as our Lord hung upon the cross, the soldier striking Christ on the cross (John 19:34). In all, the striking of the door symbolizes the release of graces, flowing abundantly to the faithful. When knocking he says “Open the gates of justice, we shall enter and gives thanks to the Lord.” At the close of the Year of Mercy, the door is closed and sealed from the inside. It will next be opened during the next Holy Year.
What Makes These Doors Special?
These doors are first and foremost a symbol, a visible sign of something much bigger. They mark a passage, they open onto the path of conversion. They send us on a pilgrimage in the hope that we will live moments of grace. Pope Francis wants them to be “a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instils hope.” (M.V. #3). They remind us that Jesus himself is the only door that leads us to the Father.
When entering St. Finnan’s and Ste-Croix through the Door of Mercy, do so in communion with all those around performing the same act of faith in the Divine Mercy.
Where the Diocesan Doors of Mercy?
The Diocese has two Doors of Mercy. The first is located at the parish of Ste-Croix in Cornwall (108 Anthony Street) and at St. Finnan's Cathedral in Alexandria (72 St. Paul Street).
Click here to read Archbishop Prendergast's message.