Bishop Scharfenberger to Open Holy Door December 13
Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger will open the Holy Door launching the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany on Sunday, Dec. 13, at 2 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
Mass will begin outside on the steps of the Cathedral, where the Bishop will bless the Holy Door, open it, and lead the congregation into the Cathedral. The ritual marks the diocese’s entrance into the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which was proclaimed by Pope Francis.
“To pass through the Holy Door means to rediscover the infinite mercy of the Father who welcomes everyone and goes out personally to encounter each of them,” Pope Francis said at the opening of the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome Dec. 8, which marked the official start of the Holy Year.
The tradition of a Holy Year, or Jubilee Year, dates back to biblical times, when the Jewish people marked every “fiftieth year” as a holy year. An Extraordinary Jubilee Year, such as the Year of Mercy, is proclaimed as a particularly significant spiritual event outside the normal schedule of Holy Years.
During the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Catholics are called to make a pilgrimage to a holy place – Rome, the Holy Land, or their own Cathedral -- and to walk through a Holy Door as a sign of a recommitment to their faith and a conversion of heart. In addition to the Holy Door at the Cathedral, Holy Doors will be opened at the following parishes in the Albany Diocese: St. Stanislaus, Amsterdam; Our Lady of Knock Shrine, East Durham; Immaculate Conception, Glenville; St. Peter, Saratoga Springs; and at St. Teresa’s Motherhouse of the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm, Germantown.
“The opening of the Holy Door serves as a reminder of God's extraordinary compassion for sinners, for anyone who wants to turn away from sins and sinful habits and be given a fresh start,” said Bishop Scharfenberger, reflecting on the gift and grace of the Holy Year of Mercy.
“Mercy is always a gift, never an entitlement. In fact, mercy is probably the purest act of love,” Bishop Scharfenberger said. “We open ourselves to God’s mercy in a special way during this Holy Year, and we extend that mercy to those people in our lives who need our forgiveness and compassion.”
The Albany Diocese will be holding special events throughout the Year of Mercy. Information and resources are available on the diocesan website at www.rcda.org/YearofMercy.