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Holy Doors in the Archdiocese


Pope Francis has declared a Jubilee Year of Mercy to allow us us to focus on and deepen our gratitude for the loving mercy of God. As with all jubilee years, the Year of Mercy will include the use of a Holy Door, a specially designated entrance that has spiritual and symbolic meaning for Catholics.

In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, passing through a Holy Door is part of the pilgrimage that all Catholics are encouraged to make, whether during a trip to Rome or a trip to the cathedrals or specially designated churches in their own dioceses. These pilgrimages come with special graces, and they allow each of us to share in the many blessings of the Holy Year.

Eight Catholic churches in the Archdiocese will serve as pilgrimage sites during the Holy Year of Mercy. These churches will celebrate a Mass with the Rite of the Opening of the Door of Mercy. The schedule is as follows:

2011 Church St., Galveston, 77550
Dec. 12 at 5:00 p.m.
Celebrant: Daniel Cardinal DiNardo
1111 St. Joseph Pkwy., Houston, 77002
Dec. 13 at 11:00 a.m.
Celebrant: Daniel Cardinal DiNardo
15500 El Camino Real, Houston, 77062
Dec. 13 at 11:00 a.m.
Celebrant: Auxiliary Bishop George A. 
2405 Navigation Blvd., Houston 77003
Dec. 19 at 6:30 p.m.
Celebrant: Daniel Cardinal DiNardo
12320 Old Foltin Rd., Houston, 77086
Dec. 20 at 6:00 p.m.
Celebrant: Auxiliary Bishop George A. Sheltz
5100 Dabney St., Houston, 77026
Dec. 12 at 5:00 p.m.
Celebrant: Auxiliary Bishop George A. Sheltz
7810 Cypresswood Dr., Spring, 77379
Dec. 20 at 11:00 a.m.
Celebrant: Auxiliary Bishop George A. 
705 St. Theresa Blvd., Sugar Land, 77498
Dec. 19 at 11:00 a.m.
Celebrant: Daniel Cardinal DiNardo

"By crossing the threshold of the Holy Door, we will find the strength to embrace God's mercy and dedicate ourselves to being merciful with others as the Father has been with us."
 – Pope Francis, Misericordiae Vultus

The tradition of the Holy Door most likely originated during the time when sinners were given public penances that had to be performed before they could receive absolution. On completion of the penance, the penitent was then allowed through the "holy door" of the Church to confess and be reunited with the Church. Today pilgrims still enter through the Holy Door as a sign of repentance and the desire to renew and recommit to their faith. As Jesus said, "I am the door" (Jn 10:7), bringing to fruition the words of the psalmist, who said, "This is the door of the Lord where the just may enter" (see 118:20). Passing through the Holy Door symbolizes our leaving the world outside and entering into the realm of salvation. As Pope St. John Paul II said, the Holy Door "evokes the passage from sin to grace which every Christian is called to accomplish" (Incarnationis Mysterium).

A Holy Year provides an opportunity for each of us to participate in and experience the healing Sacrament of Reconciliation. After having confessed our sins and received absolution, we may also receive a "plenary indulgence," which lessens the effects of our sin here on earth. Pope Francis explains: "To gain an indulgence is to experience the holiness of the Church, who bestows upon all the fruits of Christ's redemption, so that God's love and forgiveness may extend everywhere. Let us live this Jubilee intensely, begging the Father to forgive our sins and to bathe us in his merciful 'indulgence'" (MV).  

Learn more about indulgences and the Jubilee Indulgence...

Cardinal DiNardo's Decree

View the orginal document in PDF format

To the Faithful of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston:

His Holiness Pope Francis has proclaimed an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy which will begin on December 8, 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and end on November 20, 2016, the Solemnity of Christ the King. This is to be a year of grace for the Church when we are called to reflect more intensely on the mercy of God and accept it ever more deeply into our hearts. "This Holy Year will bring to the fore the richness of Jesus' mission echoed in the words of the prophet: to bring a word and gesture of consolation to the poor, to proclaim liberty to those bound by new forms of slavery in modern society, to restore sight to those who can see no more because they are caught up in themselves, to restore dignity to all those from whom it has been robbed" (Misericordiae Vultus, 16).

In accord with Misericordiae vultus, the Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, paragraph 3, promulgated by His Holiness to inaugurate this Holy Year of Mercy, I hereby decree that a Holy Door be opened at the following churches, which will serve also as pilgrimage sites during the Holy Year:
  • St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica (Holy Family Parish, 2011 Church St, Galveston TX 77550)
  • Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart (1111 St. Joseph Parkway, Houston)
  • St. Bernadette Church (15500 El Camino Real, Houston TX, 77062)
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe Church (2405 Navigation Blvd, Houston TX 77003)
  • Our Lady of Lavang Church (12320 Old Foltin Rd, Houston TX, 77086)
  • St. Francis of Assisi Church (5100 Dabney St, Houston TX, 77026)
  • St. Ignatius Church (7810 Cypresswood Dr, Spring TX, 77379)
  • St. Theresa Church (705 St. Theresa Blvd, Sugar Land TX, 77498)
Pilgrims who pass through this ‘Door of Mercy' at any of the above designated churches receive the Jubilee Indulgence. This Jubilee indulgence can be gained once a day for oneself or for someone who has died. The Holy Father has stated that, in order to receive this Jubilee Indulgence, this passage through a Holy Door must be linked with saying the Profession of Faith, praying for the Holy Father and his intentions, and going to a celebration of the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. With regards to the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, the Holy Father further instructed that "each time that one of the faithful personally performs one or more of these actions, he or she shall surely obtain the Jubilee Indulgence".

Please note that those who, due to illness or other legitimate reason, are unable to leave their place of residence may nonetheless obtain the Jubilee indulgence by uniting themselves in spirit with the faithful and offering their prayers and suffering in accord with the objectives of the Year of Mercy. Similarly, those who are incarcerated "may obtain the indulgence in the chapels of the prisons".

Finally, more resources and information about upcoming events and programs for the celebration of the Year of Mercy are available at:

With the assurances of my prayerful best wishes in the Lord during this Year of Mercy, I am

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo
Archbishop of Galveston-Houston

Decrees and Letters to Cathedrals and Pilgrimage Sites

Read the letters and decress sent to each Holy Door location in PDF format