On Sunday 13 December, staff and students from Catholic schools across Sydney participated in the Opening of the Door of Mercy at St Mary’s Cathedral. The congregation also included representatives of many parishes of the Archdiocese of Sydney. The congregation processed around the Cathedral before entering through the Holy Door of Mercy for the celebration of Mass.
Pope Francis has dedicated an extraordinary Jubilee Holy Year of Mercy, from December 8 2015 to November 20 2016.
The Year of Mercy is an opportunity for all to show forgiveness and compassion. Pope Francis has called on all members of the faith to actively show mercy, ask for forgiveness and connect to our God. In our diocese, this Jubilee year was officially inaugurated with a procession to the Holy Door and then a wonderful Mass in St. Mary’s Cathedral. The Year of Mercy will provide a personal challenge to all members of our global Catholic community, as we are all called to find mercy, to seek repentance.
The reading used to inaugurate the Year of Mercy was the parable of the lost sheep. This parable is familiar and a perfect metaphor for this jubilee. Just as the shepherd would go to find one lost sheep, our Catholic community must go out. We are called to leave the safety of the flock, to find those seeking mercy and repentance. We are personally challenged that rather than scorn or look down upon our brethren, we show mercy. Archbishop Fisher was clear in extending this challenge to all; to go out and show mercy.
This procession and Mass truly showed what a global church Catholics belong to. The multicultural nature of our Catholic community was not lost on the gathering, as it clearly demonstrated that the message of mercy could be sent to all the ends of the earth, by what is a global church.
The Door of Mercy is now open for people to visit as part of a pilgrimage. A special “way of mercy” path has also been created inside the Cathedral to help visitors reflect on the mercy of God. School communities are encouraged to consider a pilgrimage to the Cathedral as part of their celebrations of the Holy Year of Mercy in 2016.
“I have decided to announce an Extraordinary Jubilee which has at its centre the mercy of God. It will be a Holy Year of Mercy. We want to live in the light of the word of the Lord: “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (cf. Lk 6:36). I am confident that the whole Church, which is in such need of mercy for we are sinners, will be able to find in this Jubilee the joy of rediscovering and rendering fruitful God’s mercy, with which we are all called to give comfort to every man and every woman of our time.”