December 3, 2015
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has designated Dec. 8, 2015, through Nov. 20, 2016, as a Jubilee Year, a Holy Year of Mercy throughout the Church. In his announcement, Pope Francis wrote that “in every local church, at the cathedral—the mother church of the faithful in any particular area—or, alternatively, at the co-cathedral or another church of special significance, a Door of Mercy will be opened for the duration of the Holy Year. At the discretion of the local ordinary, a similar door may be opened at any shrine frequented by large groups of pilgrims, since visits to these holy sites are so often grace-filled moments as people discover a path to conversion.”
With the Jubilee centered on a “genuine experience of the mercy of God” the pope wishes to open the door especially to the excluded— sinners and saints alike. That door may serve, he hopes, as their path to their liberation in more ways than one.
Tradition of the Holy Year
Jubilee Years (Holy Years) have a scriptural origin in the Old Testament. Convoked by the Pope, the Catholic Church has celebrated Jubilee Years since the 1300s, ordinarily every 25 or 50 years. They may be celebrated more frequently when special circumstances prompt them.
Their most prominent features include the opening and closing of a Holy Door in prominent cathedrals, basilicas or churches, and pilgrimages to those places of worship to which a plenary indulgence is attached. More will be written about the Holy Year of Mercy in the coming issues of the
Dakota Catholic Action.
Holy Doors in the Diocese of Bismarck
In accordance with the wishes of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, Bishop David Kagan has designated four churches in the diocese as places of pilgrimage for the clergy, religious and faithful of the diocese. These locations will be a Holy Door of Mercy offering the faithful a Jubilee Plenary Indulgence:
St. Joseph in Williston; St. Leo the Great in Minot; St. Mary’s in Richardton at Assumption Abbey; and Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Bismarck.
The Holy Doors of Mercy will be opened Dec. 13. All Catholics who visit one of these churches and its Holy Door of Mercy on pilgrimage and who fulfill the conditions ordinarily attached to an indulgence (remission of temporal punishment for sins already forgiven, see canon 992) shall, with the proper intention and disposition, receive the plenary Jubilee Indulgence available during the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. The conditions for receiving this plenary indulgence are:
1. Must be a baptized Catholic in the state of grace (free from mortal sin) at time of indulgenced work (pilgrimage).
2. Must internally express a detachment from and rejection of sin at time of indulgenced work (pilgrimage).
3. Must make a sacramental confession within several days before or after the time of indulgenced work (pilgrimage), preferably, but not required, on the day itself.
4. Must receive Holy Communion within several days before or after the time of indulgenced work (pilgrimage), preferably, but not required, on the day itself.
5. Must pray for the intention of the Holy Father at the time of the indulgenced work (pilgrimage) fully satisfied by reciting one Our Father and one Hail Mary; nevertheless, one has the option of reciting any other prayer according to individual piety and devotion, if recited for this intention.
Anyone with questions regarding the Holy Door of Mercy or the receipt of the plenary Jubilee Indulgence should contact their parish priest.