Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
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Bishop Daly opens Holy Door at Pasco parish for Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy
the Inland Register
(From the April 21, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)
St. Patrick Parish, Pasco, has one of two Holy Doors in the Spokane Diocese, for pilgrimage during the Jubilee Year of Mercy. (IR photo courtesy of Father Steve Werner)
Eager anticipation greeted Bishop Daly as he entered St. Patrick Parish in Pasco on Feb. 13 of this year. The bilingual community of English and Spanish speakers positively beamed as the head pastor of the Church of the Diocese of Spokane entered into their parish, into their lives. He came to them as their bishop, by virtue of his ordination bringing in himself the sacramental presence of Christ. He came as a priest celebrating Holy Mass, to unite them with Jesus Christ fully present, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist. He came as a missionary of mercy, bringing from the Holy Father a concrete expression of the proximity of Godís mercy.
Commissioned by Pope Francis in the bull (declaration) opening the year of mercy, Bishop Daly came to open a Holy Door at the Pasco parish in the southern reaches of the Spokane Diocese. Opening this door at the limits of the diocese is a reminder that there is no limit to Godís mercy Ė that God reaches out to us wherever we are. Indeed, the Holy Father asked that for this reason local bishops open at significant churches ďa†Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instills hopeĒ (Misericordiae vultus, 3).
These doors of mercy are an important part of the celebration of this Jubilee Year of Mercy. Pope Francis has expressed his desire that pilgrimages be a big part of this year Ė pilgrimages to these Holy Doors. Therefore he has given, from the treasury of graces of the Church, a great grace to all the Catholic faithful who pass through these doors. This grace is the remission of the temporal consequences that we experience in ourselves as a result of the sins we commit.
To receive this grace, one who is in a state of grace need only go through the Holy Door with faith, pray the Creed, go to (or have gone to) confession within 20 days, and pray for the Holy Fatherís intentions (e.g. with an Our Father and a Hail Mary) while being detached from all sin. This great grace of God that comes to us through the Churchís God-given authority is called a plenary indulgence because it comes from the generosity of an indulgent mother: Mother Church.
As the Mass in Pasco began, a large crowd of the faithful gathered around the door of the church. Father Steve Werner, the pastor of the parish, warmly welcomed the bishop and accompanied him to the door. Father Werner then read from the papal bull that called for the opening of such Holy Doors. Bishop Daly blessed and opened the Holy Door. The community warmly responded by invoking the intercession of the saints Ė a reminder that the communion of the entire Church, living and dead, is intimately bound together by Godís loving mercy.
Bishop Daly, crozier (shepherdís staff) in hand, then led the way as all entered the church through the Holy Door. Mass then continued with the joy inherent when a parish stational Mass occasions the celebration of the Eucharist with its bishop. Concelebrating were Father Werner and Father Dale Tuckerman, parochial vicar.
During the Mass, Bishop Daly exhorted his faithful flock to truly live this Lent as a time of mercy. As a six-week journey of deeper prayer, fasting, and acts of mercy, Lent affords an intense time of personal reflection on Godís mercy. It is a time to seek to truly experience the closeness of God in personal daily prayer. We can then bring to others the joy and peace we receive in prayer.
Wishing to share the Good News of Godís mercy as fully as possible, the bishop also brought with him Father Daniel Barnett, rector of Bishop White Seminary in Spokane. Father Barnett recently had been personally commissioned to be a Missionary of Mercy by Pope Francis in order to preach Godís mercy and be available to hear confessions.
Father Barnett explained that in receiving the Holy Door indulgence, each one of us can become a missionary of mercy by asking God to apply the indulgence we obtain to somone who is deceased. In this way, we can be part of Godís mercy given to the souls in purgatory who are being purified of the temporal effects of their sins.
With this Holy Door in Pasco, Father Barnett pointed out, parishioners now have the opportunity to obtain the plenary indulgence every day (as only one can be obtained a day and one confession suffices for multiple indulgences).
Before ending the Mass, Bishop Daly expressed, in both English and Spanish, his own joy in being there on this special occasion. He then imparted his apostolic blessing.
(Editorís note: The other Holy Door in the Spokane Diocese is at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes in downtown Spokane. See the article above on the Jubilee Indulgence.)
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