HOLY Doors have closed around the world, but Brisbane Catholics have been asked to keep the doorway to mercy open and “more public”.
Across the world, Holy Doors in cathedrals, churches and basilicas closed on November 13, the same day Pope Francis closed three in Rome.
Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge joined the universal Church to close the Holy Door at St Stephen’s Cathedral “with a thud”.
Archbishop Coleridge estimated thousands had walked through the cathedral’s Holy Door and six others in the archdiocese in specific Year of Mercy pilgrimages.
But closing the doors did not mean mercy was closed off to the world.
In his homily, Archbishop Coleridge implored Catholics to keep “the door at the heart of the Church” open in a “merciless world”.
“In a merciless world we can and want to offer the mercy of God, and there is no greater gift to give to an often merciless world,” he said.
“Our credential is not that we win all the arguments; we patently don’t. Our credential is not that we win all the battles; we patently don’t.
“Who else but us, the Church, will and can offer the mercy of God that we have sought to do through this year, and to do it in ways that aren’t just hidden, or private?”
The Archbishop said the Church’s gift of God’s mercy was the only way to bring healing to individuals, the Church, the world, and the “cosmic wound of death”.
“There is no other balm for the wounds of this world and this Church, than the balm of mercy,” he said. “We say it in the cathedral this morning and we say it to the whole world; there is no other healing than the healing that comes from righteousness born of God’s mercy.”
While the Year of Mercy is not the first time a “year” has been offered in the Church, Archbishop Coleridge said this past jubilee “struck a chord” in its simplicity.
“One of the great strengths of this year has been the simplicity of it all,” the Archbishop said. “A door – a pilgrimage into the cathedral – thousands of people have come here on pilgrimage.
“What are they looking for? An experience of mercy.
“They’ve come here, confessed sin, and received the gift of mercy from God –thousands of them, and right around the diocese, all in a vast simplicity which is the simplicity of God.”
But it was Pope Francis’ public gestures of mercy to the public, like the gift of showers for Rome’s homeless, that should inspire Catholics to make the gift public, not private.
“We need to make mercy more public and that has been one of the great calls and indeed achievements of this Year of Mercy, not just in Brisbane but right around the world,” the Archbishop said.
“So here in St Stephen’s the door closes, but we don’t close the door on mercy. What an absurdity that would be.
“As we close the door in the cathedral, what remains open is the door of the heart of the Church’s heart and the door of the heart of each one of us who gather here this morning.
“We don’t say farewell to mercy, we say welcome to the path that opens up before us, beyond this year and its legacy.”
In February 2015, Archbishop Coleridge nominated seven Year of Mercy pilgrimage sites across all areas in the Archdiocese of Brisbane.
The sites included the churches in Red Hill, Clear Island Waters, Annerley, Ipswich, Nambour and Marian Valley.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation was available to all pilgrims who walked through Holy Doors, and was among the conditions for obtaining a jubilee indulgence.
The Year of Mercy officially ends today (November 20), the feast of Christ the King.
By Emilie Ng