The Closing of the Holy Doors of Mercy at The Cathedral of the Holy Name
Nov. 13, 2016
Never has a ‘farewell’ been so joyful! Not because the Doors of Mercy were closed but because the mercy experienced will live on and on – a beautiful reason to rejoice.
The closing ceremony was preceded by an ‘Evening of Mercy’ conducted by Fr. Leon Cruz, SDB, who was commissioned as a Missionary of Mercy by the Holy Father on Ash Wednesday, earlier this year. Accompanied by the group of youthful musicians and vocalists, students of the Don Bosco Engineering College, Kurla, who call themselves the Mercy Band – Annie, Darina, Salome, Melroy, Nathaniel, Dalyn, Darryl and Br. Avil – Fr. Leon led the gathering through reflections based on Scripture which incorporated the themes, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner’, the ‘blanket of mercy’, ‘Divine Mercy demands mercy’, ‘footprints of mercy’, interspersed with hymns beautifully rendered by the group. In conclusion, prayer intentions were raised and the response petitioned that we become ‘true dispensers of mercy’.
A moving experience and a happy one! To listen to the music and experience the lyrics once again, you can log on to: www.faithline.in
The Eucharist which marked the closing of the Holy Door was celebrated by His Eminence, Oswald Cardinal Gracias and concelebrated with Bishop Dominic Savio Fernandes and priests of the Archdiocese. Essentially, this was an occasion to give thanks for the mercy received, expressed in the opening prayer:
“Dearly beloved brothers and sisters,
we have reached the end of the Jubilee Year.
It has been an extraordinary time of grace and mercy.
In this Eucharistic celebration, we raise our voices to
in a hymn of praise and thanksgiving
for all the gifts he has bestowed upon us.
Once more, before approaching these sacred mysteries,
let us invoke the soothing balm of his mercy
acknowledging that we are sinners
and forgiving one another from the bottom of our
His Eminence’s message which followed the Gospel reading of the Parable of the Prodigal Son, was a directive for the time ahead. He reminded all present that through every parable, Jesus gives us a message: how to live in the way God wants us to. Jesus reveals the merciful face of the Father. Throughout salvation history, we read how God wants to forgive even before we ask, so much so that He sent His son to suffer, die (and rise) in atonement for our sins. Jesus paid for our sins, because we are loved so very much – God is all love, all mercy. The Church also represents mercy because we have been bought over by Jesus, who wants us to give the mercy that we have received, to reach out, to extend the Door of Mercy – Jesus himself – to others. Every parish, institution, association, office and convent must become oases of mercy; we would be failing in our mission as disciples if we do not express this mystery of mercy in our behavior, words and thoughts.
Mary is an exemplar for us. She was just an ordinary girl, chosen by God and preserved from sin. She is the greatest recipient of mercy and our greatest model. She has appeared to us at various times – at Lourdes, Fatima and other shrines – urging us to pray, to return to Jesus, to partake in God’s forgiveness, mercy and grace.
Pope Francis has repeatedly reminded us to be agents of mercy and he has shown us how through his different symbolic acts: he went to where the migrants had died, to prisons, to the prostitutes, urchins. He showed us that no one is beyond redemption and everyone has a right to God’s love.
His Eminence concluded his homily by thanking God for His mercy to us and our loved ones, our extended family that is the Church, and reminded us once again to resolve to go and be agents of mercy and transform society.
The Year of Mercy is over, but our mission continues.
After the Prayer after Communion, His Eminence, through the words of the Liturgy expressed thanks to God for the graces received during the Jubilee Year and invited the assembly to join him in offering thanks, once again:
“Brothers and sisters,
let us joyfully thank God,
the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Throughout this year of grace,
he has bestowed on us every heavenly blessing in
He has given us this precious time
of mercy and conversion.
Let us express our thanks and joy
in the words of the Virgin Mary, our Mother.
As we sing the Lord’s mercy extending to every generation,
let us ask him to pour out, like the morning dewfall,
that same mercy unceasingly upon the entire world.”
The Magnificat, the Virgin Mary’s song of thanksgiving shared by the Church, was then evocatively rendered by the Cathedral Choir.
And the congregation gratefully received the blessing:
“Show us your mercy, Lord,
and come to the aid of your people
who call upon you as their shepherd and guide;
restore what you have created
and keep safe what you have restored.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen”
After the Eucharistic celebration, the Certificates for the Cardinal Ivan Dias Awards, for the best written article on Mariology, were handed over to the winners and meritorious participants, by His Eminence, Cardinal Gracias. Fr. Stephen Fernandes coordinated the event during which he reminded all present that the awards were instituted in 2014, to increase devotion to Mary through study and research articles based on the themes provided. This year’s theme, very appropriately, was based on, ‘Mary, Mother of Mercy… who "treasured divine mercy in her heart" and "attests that the mercy of the Son of God knows no bounds."
His Eminence thanked Bishop Savio and Bishop John – who had come in later – the celebrants, religious and congregation – many from other parishes – who were present. Special mention was made of the Cathedral Choir and Fr. Leon and the Mercy Band who contributed to the solemnity and joy of the occasion.
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