Hey high school students!
I’m leading a
pilgrimage to the Holy Door
at the Cathedral of St. Paul on Sunday, August 7 and here are the top 5 things you need to know in preparation for this event.
What’s a Jubilee Year?
Jubilee Years were introduced in 1300 by Pope Boniface VIII and happen about every 25 years. It’s traditionally a year of forgiveness of sins and their accompanying punishments (more on that later). It’s also a year for reconciliation between enemies (so be nice to your siblings), conversion, and receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Why an “Extraordinary Year of Mercy?”
Pope Francis wants the world to experience God’s unfathomable mercy, so he called this special Jubilee Year…enough said.
What’s a Holy Door?
Is it made of holy wood or something?
There’s nothing physically special about Holy Doors
(good guess!), but they are designated by bishops throughout the world and opened during Jubilee Years as extraordinary paths toward salvation (some are actually bricked shut every other year). Walking through a Holy Door symbolizes a person’s leaving behind the bad things of the world and entering into the presence of God. Our pilgrimage won’t JUST be a stroll down Summit Avenue; it will be a journey to a deeper union with God (mind blown)! The two Holy Doors designated for our Archdiocese are located at the Cathedral of St. Paul and the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis.
What’s an indulgence?
Didn’t the Catholic Church get rid of those?
We know that everybody sins and needs God’s mercy. Sin can bring two punishments: eternal (hell) and/or temporal (pertaining to time). By Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, eternal punishment can be paid (this is what it mean to say Jesus is our “Redeemer”) by repentance and Confession. Temporal punishment, however, remains even after Confession and must be reckoned through penance (i.e. prayer, fasting, and almsgiving), indulgences, or Purgatory. For example, say you shatter your friend’s iPhone; he’ll probably forgive you (in God’s case He always forgives us in Confession), but his phone is still broken. Reckoning temporal punishment is like paying for your friend to replace his phone so he can keep playing Pokémon Go.
Indulgences have been misused by some in the Church’s history, but this is no reason to throw out the baby with the bath water, so to speak! Indulgences are concrete ways that God shows his unfathomable mercy through the ministry of the Church.
How do I get my hands on that mercy?
During Jubilee Years, a person can receive one plenary indulgence (full or complete remission of temporal punishment) every day by walking through a Holy Door and following the directions prescribed by the Church. And the cool thing is, you can either apply an indulgence to yourself (no shame in that!) or to someone who has died and may still be in Purgatory. So not only is the pilgrimage to the Cathedral a holy and fun way to exercise, it could be an opportunity for you to gain an indulgence for your favorite grandparent who REALLY needs it… much better than capturing a Pikachu. #Indulgences #GottaCatchEmAll
To receive the plenary indulgence, you need to: (1) make a pilgrimage and pass through a Holy Door, (2) go to Confession, (3) receive Holy Communion “with a reflection of mercy,” and (4) make a profession of faith (e.g. recite the Creed), and (5) pray for the Pope’s intentions (One Our Father, three Hail Mary’s, and one Glory Be).
We’ll actually be doing all of the above, except going to Confession (although we might be able to pull some strings...), when we arrive at the Cathedral, so you'll be most of the way there!