Fr. Edward Smith looks forward to welcoming Holy Door pilgrimages to St. Paul’s Basilica in Toronto during the Year of Mercy. Photo by Evan Boudreau

Holy Doors to open for Toronto pilgrims

By 
  • November 20, 2015

TORONTO - Toronto area Catholics are getting new destinations of pilgrimage with the designation of seven Holy Doors in parishes across the archdiocese for the upcoming Year of Mercy.

“The Holy Father has instituted this as a jubilee year for us and he’s allowed us to have Holy Doors in our local dioceses throughout the world,” said Fr. Edward Curtis, assistant to Cardinal Thomas Collins. “These will be places of pilgrimage for people in the archdiocese who wish to mark this Year of Mercy in a special way, a prayerful way.”

Traditionally the Holy Door represents the passage to salvation as well as the entryway to God’s mercy. There are seven permanent Holy Doors in the world, including the one at Notre Dame Basilica in Quebec City. These doors are normally sealed from the inside and are opened during jubilee years when pilgrims can enter through them to gain a plenary indulgence connected with the jubilee.

Mercy is “the bridge that connects God and humanity, opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness,” wrote Pope Francis in Misericordia Vultus (The Face of Mercy) instituting the Year of Mercy.

On Dec. 8 Pope Francis will usher in the Year of Mercy by opening the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica. The following Sunday churches throughout the world will open designated doors as part of the eucharistic celebration of the Third Sunday of Advent. Faithful will then have 49 weeks to complete a pilgrimage by passing through one of the doorways during the Year of Mercy.

“The idea is to walk through these doors thinking of God’s mercy for each one of us but also how we can be charitable to those around us,” said Curtis.

After passing through the designated doorway pilgrims are called to complete the Sacrament of Reconciliation, receive Communion, profess the faith by reciting either the Apostles’ or the Nicene Creed and pray for the Holy Father. They can do this for personal indulgences or in the name of another, deceased or living.

To assist pilgrims prayer cards will be available at each of the seven sites throughout the archdiocese.

“For the selection we looked at the whole archdiocese and thought, okay, what are good places ... of pilgrimage. Martyrs’ Shrine is a place of pilgrimage for so many so that was a no brainer,” said Curtis.

St. Michael’s Cathedral would normally fit the bill as well, but renovations have closed the doors to the cathedral for the near future.

The other parishes with designated Holy Doors are St. Theresa’s Shrine of the Little Flower in Scarborough, Merciful Redeemer parish in Mississauga — “how could you not have that parish be a jubilee parish with a name like that,” said Curtis — St. Anthony of Padua and St. Patrick’s in Brampton, St. Patrick’s in downtown Toronto and St. Paul’s Basilica, the oldest parish in Toronto.

Fr. Edward Smith, pastor of St. Paul’s Basilica, said the designation is a fitting tribut to the parish’s 193-year history.

“It complements the history of St. Paul’s Basilica,” he said, noting the various long-running outreach programs at the parish located across the street from the Good Shepherd.

“St. Paul’s parishioners have always been very very generous when it comes to the vulnerable and the wounded. The legacy of mercy has continued from one generation to the next.”

The Year of Mercy comes to to an end on Nov. 20, 2016 with the closing of the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica during the celebration of the Feast of Christ the King.

Comments (3)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

we are all created by Gods Mercy. I agree with your article. what you have said in this post. Thanks for sharing very great information. I must share this with others. To increase their knowledge. men hoodies

mike
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Thank you for this tremendous information. May each and every human being created in God's Divine Mercy return to HIM our Loving and Merciful Father in this year of Mercy...Amen!

DOROTHY MASCARENHAS
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Thank you for this tremendous information. May each and every human being created in God's Divine Mercy return to HIM our Loving and Merciful Father in this year of Mercy...Amen!

DOROTHY MASCARENHAS
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