On December 8, 2015, Pope Francis inaugurated the Jubilee Year of Mercy in the Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican. Bishops around the world have designated, special sanctuaries, shrines and churches and prepared pastoral programs for the celebration of this extraordinary event for their faithful.
The Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land are doing the same for faithful and pilgrims visiting the holy places and have decided that holy doors will be open in the following churches:
Pilgrims are welcomed to visit during this Jubilee Year, the holy places as a “sign of a deep desire for true conversion” and penance for all our sins against peace, justice and reconciliation especially in the Middle East.
Passing through the Door of Mercy opened in Gethsemane, Bethlehem and Nazareth in order to obtain the plenary indulgence (visit, confession, communion, profession of faith and prayer for intentions of the Holy Father), a rite with significance and a public commitment to build a better world.
Pilgrims are encouraged to practice corporal and spiritual works of mercy, by participating in the Sunday Mass with a parish, especially those who are more isolated and far away from the city: This is “communion of faith”; and by taking the time to visit with the elderly and sick people, handicapped or refugees, hosted by religious Institutions: This is “proximity of love”.
The Assembly of the Catholic Ordinaries asks diocesan offices and agencies for pilgrimages to include the various initiatives in the programs of pilgrims visiting the Holy Land during this Jubilee Year of Mercy from December 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016.
Why make a pilgrimage in the Jubilee Year of Mercy?
One of the characteristics of a Jubilee year is a pilgrimage. The pilgrimage invites pilgrims in an extraordinary and unique way to pray, to celebrate, and to gain the indulgences that the God gives the Church in this special year. Pope Francis himself was the one who, in calling for his Jubilee Year of Mercy, has invited us to pilgrimage…
“The practice of pilgrimage has a special place in the Holy Year, because it represents the journey each of us makes in this life. Life itself is a pilgrimage, and the human being is a visitor, a pilgrim traveling along the road, making his way to the desired destination. Similarly, to reach the Holy Door in Rome or in any other place in the world, everyone, each according to his or her ability, will have to make a pilgrimage. This will be a sign that mercy is also a goal to reach and requires dedication and sacrifice. May pilgrimage be an impetus to conversion: by crossing the threshold of the Holy Door, we will find the strength to embrace God’s mercy and dedicate ourselves to being merciful with others as the Father has been with us.” (MV, 14)
Tekton Ministries has been organizing pilgrimages for priests for more than two decades. We truly see our work as a ministry to priests, parishes, and Catholic organizations.
We strongly encourage our Catholic brothers and sisters to heed Pope Francis’ invitation, “May pilgrimage be an impetus to conversion: by crossing the threshold of the Holy Door, we will find the strength to embrace God’s mercy and dedicate ourselves to being merciful with others as the Father has been with us.” A pilgrimage during the Jubilee Year of Mercy will be no ordinary pilgrimage. Like the Jubilee, it will be extra-ordinary.
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