St Anne's Cathedral, Leeds
"We have opened the Holy Door, here and in all the cathedrals of the world. Even this simple sign is an invitation to joy. It begins a time of the great forgiveness. It is the Jubilee of Mercy."
These were the words of Pope Francis as he opened the Holy Door in the Cathedral Church of Rome, St. John Lateran. The Holy Father makes reference to his request that a Holy Door be opened in every Cathedral Church around the world and at the start of the Solemn Mass for Gaudete Sunday Bishop Marcus opened the special Holy Door in Leeds Cathedral designated for the Year of Mercy.
At the beginning of the Mass the Bishop led a procession outside the Cathedral to the Holy Door and formally opened it and then entered the Cathedral through it. In a highly symbolic gesture recalling the recent Synod on the Family and the Pope's Mandate when appointing him Bishop of Leeds that he have a special care for the family, the Bishop invited a family to be the first to pass through door following him. Then a large number of the congregation passed through the Holy Door into the Cathedral and into the Year of Mercy.
Everyone is invited to make a pilgrimage to the Cathedral to pass through the Holy Door. In his Papal Bull announcing the Jubilee Year of Mercy (Misericordiae Vultus) Pope Francis wrote: “The practice of pilgrimage has a special place in the Holy Year, because it represents the journey each of us makes in this life. Life itself is a pilgrimage, and the human being is a viator, a pilgrim travelling along the road, making his way to the desired destination. Similarly, to reach the Holy Door in Rome or in any other place in the world, everyone, each according to his or her ability, will have to make a pilgrimage. This will be a sign that mercy is also a goal to reach and requires dedication and sacrifice. May pilgrimage be an impetus to conversion: 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.”
As part of their observance pilgrims are asked to make a Sacramental Confession, receive the Holy Eucharist and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father.