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Jubilee Year of Mercy ends, but not God’s mercy does not

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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. 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016