The Holy Door of Mercy at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in
Arlington was closed Nov. 13, marking the end of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year
of Mercy in the Arlington Diocese.
In April 2015, Pope Francis announced a Jubilee Year of Mercy
would run from Dec. 8, 2015 through Nov. 20, 2016. When he opened the Holy Door
at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome Dec. 8, 2015, bishop around the world followed suit
by opening the holy doors at their cathedrals.
"But one reality never changes. Yes, the Jubilee Year of Mercy is ending, but God’s mercy endures forever." Bishop Paul S. Loverde
Bishop Paul S. Loverde opened the cathedral’s Holy Door Nov. 20,
2015. Catholics of the Arlington Diocese could travel to their cathedral to
obtain a plenary indulgence. Defined by the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a
plenary indulgence is the remission of temporal punishment due to sins whose
guilt already has been forgiven. To have received the indulgence, believers
must have passed through the Holy Door while in the state of grace, received
the Eucharist that day, prayed for the intentions of the pope and performed acts
of penance, piety and mercy.
Prior to the start of last Sunday’s Mass, people kissed the Holy
Door and genuflected before it. Father Robert J. Rippy, rector of the cathedral,
concelebrated the Mass with the bishop.
In Bishop Loverde’s homily, he reflected on the numerous changes
in the month of November. In nature, leaves turn to the colors of auburn and
yellow, while liturgically the church will enter the season of Advent Nov. 27
“But one reality never changes,” he said. “Yes, the Jubilee Year
of Mercy is ending, but God’s mercy endures forever.”
As the congregation sang the closing hymn, Father
Rippy and Father Robert J. Wagner, secretary to the bishop, led Bishop Loverde
outside the cathedral’s main entrance, where he closed the Holy Door.