Time for forgiveness has begun, pope says as holy doors open worldwide

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December 14, 2015

Pope Francis opens the Holy Door of the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome Dec. 13. Holy doors around the world were opened at city cathedrals, major churches and sanctuaries Dec. 13 as part of the Jubilee of Mercy. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See POPE-HOLY-DOOR-LATERAN Dec. 13, 2015.

Pope Francis opens the Holy Door of the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome Dec. 13. Holy doors around the world were opened at city cathedrals, major churches and sanctuaries Dec. 13 as part of the Jubilee of Mercy. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — With the opening the Holy Door at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Pope Francis declared that the time for tenderness, joy and forgiveness had begun.

As holy doors around the world were opened at city cathedrals, major churches and sanctuaries Dec. 13, the pope said this simple gesture of opening God’s house to the world serves as “an invitation to joy. The time of great pardon begins. It is the Jubilee of Mercy.”

Dressed in rose vestments on Gaudete Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent, marking the joyful expectation of Christmas, the pope began the ceremony outside the basilica in front of the bronze holy door. The door depicts a bas relief of the crucified Christ looking down on Mary tenderly holding the baby Jesus, whose small foot shone like bright gold from the countless kisses and touches of visiting pilgrims.

Read more in The Visitor…