06 December 2016

Doors of Mercy close in the Holy Land

A Eucharistic celebration in the Basilica of Gethsemane has gathered priests, religious and local Christians for the closing of the Holy Door.

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After Pope Francis concluded the Jubilee Year in Rome, the Doors of Mercy of the Holy Land have been closed.

The first one to be closed was the Door of the Basilica of the Agony in Jerusalem on December 3. For the occasion, a Eucharistic celebration brought together priests, local religious communities, Arab Christians and pilgrims in the Church of Gethsemane.

In his homily, the Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine, Mons. William Shomali, recalled the words of Pope Francis on the closing of the Holy Year.

Auxiliary Bishop and Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine
"In the Apostolic Letter of the Holy Father for the closing of the Holy Door, we read these words:
In fact, every year, especially in liturgical celebrations, in the sacrament of reconciliation as well as in the Eucharist and in works of mercy, the Lord continues to show us His mercy. He continues to forgive."

The Catholic Church celebrates the Jubilee every 25 years. The last one took place in 2000, but the Pope can proclaim an extraordinary Jubilee for what he considers to be a significant reason. This was the case of the Year of Mercy, announced by Pope Francis, in the hope to awaken the world to the experience of God's mercy.

Apostolic Nuncio to Israel and Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine
"God is love, God is mercy. And now we have this great challenge that the Pope left in our hands, which is to continue ... to continue to live the great mystery of God's love in our lives and in the life of the Church. God's love: a forgiving love; a welcoming love that becomes mercy.”

After Mass, the priests and the faithful left the basilica in a procession carrying the Cross of Christ and heading towards the Garden of Olives.

At the door of Gethsemane, they remained a few minutes in silence and in prayer before the symbol of mercy, visited by the faithful from around the world.

Auxiliary Bishop and Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine
"The celebration of the Closing of the Door was heartwarming; but we know that the Lord, with this gesture of opening and closing, is telling us that He is always ready to forgive. "

Sisters of Mercy of St. Charles Borromeo
"I was here at the opening of the Jubilee Year and I am very happy to be here at the Closing of the Holy Door. In our congregation, the Mercy is a special vow we make: every day we try to convey mercy and love to all. "

In the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, the closing of the Holy Door coincides with a very significant date: December 8, Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

German Pilgrim
"The closing of the Holy Door reminds me that God has given me time: the Year of Mercy. Now I have to pray much more and learn how to understand others by showing mercy."