Cardinal DiNardo opens “Holy Doors of Mercy” welcoming the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy

December 22, 2015

HOUSTON — Earlier this year, Pope Francis declared that the Catholic Church would celebrate the Year of Mercy, an Extraordinary Jubilee. In announcing this special year, the Pope said that “Mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life. All of her pastoral activity should be caught up in the tenderness she makes present to believers; nothing in her preaching and in her witness to the world can be lacking in mercy” (Misericordiae Vultus, n. 10). 

The Year of Mercy officially began on Tuesday, Dec. 8, when the Holy Father ceremoniously opened the “Holy Door” at St. Peter’s Basilica, and will conclude on Nov. 20, 2016. 

On Sunday, Dec. 13, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo performed the same simple, but richly significant ceremony when he opened the “Holy Door of Mercy” for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. He also opened a “Holy Door of Mercy” at St. Mary Cathedral Basilica in Galveston, the Mother Church of Texas, on Saturday, Dec. 12. Other Pilgrim Parishes with a Holy Door for this Year of Mercy are: St. Bernadette, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Houston, Our Lady of Lavang, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Ignatius in Spring and St. Teresa in Sugar Land. 

Pope Francis said that upon opening, the “Holy Door will become a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and installs hope.” (Misericordiae Vultus n. 3) 

Pope Francis instituted the Jubilee year in the document “Misericordiae Vultus” (“The Face of Mercy”). In this document, the pope identifies the Church’s primary task as introducing the faithful to contemplate the great mystery of God’s mercy by reflecting on the life of Jesus and to imitate him by being “merciful like the Father.”

“The Jubilee Year of Mercy is a time set aside by our Holy Father Pope Francis to allow the great loving kindness of the Lord to visit us anew and transform us into disciples who have been seized by mercy and live to share it!” Cardinal DiNardo said.

Throughout the year, Catholic churches, schools and social ministry organizations will host events and service projects focused on participating in and adopting God’s mercy. 

Works of mercy can be as simple as giving a drink to someone who is thirsty, visiting the sick, volunteering, giving comfort to someone who is suffering or forgiving a person for something they have done.

As Cardinal DiNardo said, “In performing works of mercy we pattern our life after Christ and respond to the mercy of Our Lord through His Church.” 

For more information about the Year of Mercy, the Holy Doors of Mercy and Year of Mercy Pilgrimages, visit