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Archbishop Costelloe opens Holy Door for Jubilee Year


Archbishop Costelloe opens the Holy Door at St Mary’s Cathedral on Saturday, 12 December to mark the commencement of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Photo: Jamie O’Brien

By Jamie O’Brien

It is God's mercy which saves us, lifts us up, and enables us to grow more and more into the people He is calling us to be, said Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe last weekend, in celebrating the opening of the Holy Door at St Mary’s Cathedral to mark the start of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

“God looks on us with love, not condemnation; with compassion, not with harsh judgement; with mercy, not with exacting legalism,” the Archbishop continued.

The historic celebration was attended by more than 300 people from the Archdiocese and concelebrated by Vicar General Father Peter Whitely, Cathedral Dean Monsignor Michael Keating, Redemptoris Mater Seminary Rector Fr Michael Moore, Fr Greg Donovan, Deacon Matthew Hodgson, MC Fr Brennan Sia and several other priests from across Perth.

The Mass commenced with the reading of the Gospel by Deacon Matthew Hodgson, followed by the proclamation of the Bull of Indiction of the Misericordiae Vultus by Archdiocesan Liturgy Centre Director, Sister Kerry Willison.

The Archbishop then proceeded to the back of the church and opened the Holy Door, accompanied by MC Fr Brennan Sia, Deacon Matthew Hodgson, Mgr Michael Keating and acolytes.

In his homily for the occasion, the Archbishop paid particular attention to the prayer prayed by the Church during the season of Advent.

“The prayer to which I am referring is prayed over the gifts during one of the weekday Advent Masses: ‘Be pleased, O Lord,’ it asks, ‘with our humble prayers and offerings, and, since we have no merits to plead our cause, come, we pray, to our rescue with the protection of your mercy’.”

The prayer reminds us, first of all, the Archbishop proclaimed, that we need rescuing, that we need saving.

“For many of us, this is easy to believe. We are, or at least often can be, painfully aware of our weaknesses, our failures, and our sins.

“Every time we gather to celebrate the Eucharist, we begin by recognising this: we pause to acknowledge our sins, seek God's forgiveness, and in this way prepare ourselves to enter into a celebration that we know we are never really worthy to share in.”

The prayer, continued the Archbishop, deepens our sense of humility by expressing the truth, difficult for many to accept, that in and of ourselves we have no merits to plead our cause.

“In the end, all we can do is come to the Lord in honesty, sorrow and hope, throwing ourselves on His mercy. We cannot demand that we be forgiven, or rewarded, or exalted or restored: we can only come, as the poor man did who sat at the back of the Temple, praying ‘Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner’.”

In his General Audience of 18 November, Pope Francis dedicated his catechesis to the meaning of the Holy Door.

“This great door is that of God's mercy, which welcomes our repentance and offers us the grace of forgiveness; a door which is opened generously but whose threshold must be crossed with courage,” the Pope said.

Pope Francis referred to the recent Synod of Bishops, which, he said, gave all families and all the Church a strong impetus to meet at the threshold of this open door.

“The Church was encouraged to open her doors, to go forth with the Lord towards His sons and daughters who walk together, at times uncertain, at times lost, in these difficult times. Christian families, in particular, have been encouraged to open the door to the Lord Who waits to enter, bringing His blessing. But the Lord never forces the door; He asks permission to enter through ours, although His doors are always open.”

Read the Archbishop’s full homily by Clicking Here.

Read the full homily of Pope Francis of 18 November by Clicking Here.