The Cathedral’s South Door was designated the Holy Door after Pope Francis announced an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy and broke with tradition by allowing bishops throughout the world to designate their own Holy Doors, instead of having only one Holy Door at St Peter’s in Rome.
Announcing the Year of Mercy last year, Pope Francis said, “The Holy Door will become a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instils hope.”
As part of the Jubilee, the Cathedral created its own pilgrimage route, starting at the Holy Door on Norfolk Row and visiting the Cathedral’s Lady, St Joseph’s, Blessed Sacrament and Mortuary Chapels, as well as the Shrines of the Sacred Heart and Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Members of St Marie’s congregation and visitors had the opportunity to join communal pilgrimages before the Holy Door was closed on Sunday, 13 November.
The Holy Door of St Peter’s is normally sealed by mortar and cement from the inside so that it cannot be opened. The door is ceremoniously opened for pilgrims during Jubilee years designated by the Pope. Holy Years or Jubilees normally occur every 25 years, but a Pope can declare an extraordinary Jubilee when he deems it necessary.