KOTA KINABALU – “Let us enter the Holy Door, into the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to ask for God’s forgiveness, and be a merciful heart to one another!”
Parish priest of Sacred Heart Cathedral Archbishop John Wong, addressed these words to the 300-strong crowd of parishioners from the English Masses, prior to leading the short procession in pilgrimage to the Holy Door of the cathedral in the evening of 4 June 2016.
The pilgrimage was in conjunction with the Year of Mercy called by Pope Francis “for the entire Church to undertake a journey of spiritual conversion in order to rediscover the joy of having received mercy from God, and to recommit ourselves to be witnesses to that mercy.”
The Extraordinary Jubilee commenced on 8 Dec 2015 and will conclude on 20 Nov 2016.
The parish priest pointed out that a Holy Door is normally located in the Diocese of Rome. However, for this Holy Year of Mercy, he said, we encounter an extraordinary moment of grace and spiritual renewal because a similar door may be opened in each diocese to facilitate the particular Church’s direct involvement in living out the Holy Year.
The archdiocese has designated four churches where Holy Doors could be visited: Sacred Heart Cathedral, Holy Rosary Limbahau, St Peter Kudat, and St Peter Claver Ranau.
Archbishop Wong went on to say that a Holy Door is “the gateway through which you enter to embrace the mercy of God.”
He added that the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy “excludes no one, no matter who you are. Mercy is available to whoever whose heart is open to sincere repentance.”
Echoing the pontiff, he said that “God never tires to give forgiveness; it is we who are tired of asking for forgiveness.”
The archbishop concluded by calling all to make the year-long penitential journey with an open heart, to bathe in the merciful “indulgence” of God, and to receive the mercy of God with the certainty of forgiveness.
He reminded them of the four conditions required to receive a full plenary indulgence: to cross the Holy Door, to make a good confession, to receive Holy Communion, and to pray for the Holy Father’s intention.
The entrance through the Holy Door was followed by Benediction, and a personal time of reflection before the crowd dispersed.
During the short walk from the parish center to the Holy Door, Fr Joshus Liew led the Litany of the Saints, while the Entrance Rite was officiated by the archbishop. Fr Rhobby Mojolou exposed the Blessed Sacrament for a short period of silent adoration before blessing the people with it. The theme song of the Year of Mercy, Misericordes Sicut Pater was also sung at the conclusion of the pilgrimage.