My dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
Let us pray that our hearts may be open to receive the Mercy of God during this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy!
Pope Francis declared this year to encourage us to focus on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives. When we make an effort to encounter Jesus, whether in prayer, in the sacraments, through the sacred scriptures, or even in sacred architecture such as the Holy Door, we become more like Him.
On Sunday, December 13th, Holy Doors were opened at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe and at our Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman. Many people were present and took part in the procession. Representatives were present from many diocesan parishes to be part of the Mass as well as pick up copies of Embracing the Year of Mercy. A booklet specifically put together for this year, in our diocese.
Each time you come into one of these two churches through their Holy Door, it should be an entrance of prayer, an encounter with Jesus, who is the entry into eternal life. It is He who is Mercy Incarnate, and who bestows the Father’s mercy on all sinners, great and small. Upon leaving the church, our passage back through the Holy Door is an impetus to show mercy to others and a grace to lead others through the Door of the Church into a life of joy in the Blessed Trinity.
If you are unable to make a pilgrimage to one of the two churches with a Holy Door, I have also designated twelve pilgrimage churches spread throughout the diocese. A Year of Mercy plenary indulgence can be obtained by visiting each of these pilgrimage churches as well as the Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman and the Shrine of our Lady of Guadalupe both in La Crosse. There are prescribed prayers and actions for the gaining of the indulgence. I invite you to read more about the indulgence on the Year of Mercy website www.diolc.org/mercy
I pray this Holy Year of Mercy will find us awake and alert to its many graces. May you share fully and abundantly in the mystery of His Divine Love and Mercy.
God be with you!