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Holy Door opens; Jubilee of Mercy begins

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placeholder January 4, 2016   •   VOL. 54, NO. 1   •   Oakland, CA

Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, cuts the ribbon on the Holy Door of Mercy at the Cathedral of Christ the Light, marking the beginning of the Jubilee Year of Mercy in the Diocese of Oakland.

Holy Door opens; Jubilee of Mercy begins


Hear the homily


Year of Mercy Events

Through Nov. 19, 2016, Confession available at the Cathedral of Christ the Light, 11 a.m.-noon Monday-Friday; 4:30-5:30 p.m. Saturday.

Early 2016, pilgrimages to the Cathedral of Christ the Light begin

Jan. 16, 9:30 a.m. Enrichment Series (English/Spanish), St. Jarlath Parish, Oakland

Jan. 22, noon, Issues4Life Rally, Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, and Conversations4Life Dinner, 5 p.m. St. Stephen Parish, Walnut Creek

Jan. 22, 6:30 p.m., Enrichment Series (English/Spanish), St. John the Baptist, San Lorenzo

Jan. 23, 12:30 p.m., Walk for Life West Coast, Civic Center Plaza, San Francisco

Jan. 30, 10 a.m.-noon, Diocesan Choir Festival: Songs of Mercy, Cathedral of Christ the Light, Oakland. Free admission.

Jan. 30, 9 a.m.-noon, Adopt a Refugee Orientation, Catholic Charities of the East Bay, Richmond

Feb. 12, 6 p.m., Cease Fire Walk for Peace, Antioch

Feb. 20, Mercy & Mary Retreat with Father Michael Gaitley, MIC, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, Brentwood, www.marianmissionaries.org

March 4-5, Celebration of 24 Hours for the Lord, at Pope Francis' invitation, at the Cathedral of Christ the Light and in deaneries throughout the diocese

March 7-9, 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., Jubilee of Mercy Lenten Mission, St. Joseph Basilica, Alameda


The Holy Door of Mercy opened.

And so did the heavens, Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, noted at the end of the Dec. 13 Mass, which he began by opening the Holy Door — the left front door of the Cathedral of Christ the Light — during a downpour of rain, the bishop said, for which we had been praying for the past four or five years.

Neither the weather nor the move of Mass parking to across the street at the Kaiser Center garage appeared to deter the faithful, who filled the cathedral for the start of a year of special blessings and works of mercy.

During the Mass, Bishop Barber imparted the Apostolic Blessing, granting a plenary indulgence to all those present who fulfill the conditions: sacramental confession, Eucharistic Communion and prayer for the intention of Pope Francis. The conditions may be fulfilled several days before or after the celebration.

All the faithful will be able to receive indulgences throughout the Holy Year if they make a pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Christ the Light, pass through the Holy Door and fulfill the same conditions of sacramental confession, Eucharistic Communion and prayer for the intention of Pope Francis.

In his homily, the bishop said, "I'm going to ask you what I asked the inmates at Santa Rita Jail last week as they came, one by one, to go to confession or to speak with a priest," he said, recounting a recent visit to the Alameda County jail. "What do you need from our Lord today?"

"Think of it," he said to the gathering. "Do you have financial problems? Do you need a job? Do you need the resolution of a conflict in your family? Do you pray for your kids to return to the church?"

He shared the inmates' concerns."They didn't say, 'I need to get out of jail.' They sat down and looked at me and said, 'Father, I need forgiveness.'"

He said he blessed the inmates. "They know that they need forgiveness," he said. "How many priests in our diocese sit in the confessional on Saturday afternoon and very few people come because they don't realize they need forgiveness?"

Noting that he had opened the holy door earlier in the Mass, the bishop said, "The real holy door of mercy is open every day in every Catholic church in our diocese. It's the door of the confessional. There, more than anywhere else, is where we find mercy, forgiveness, understanding, cleansing, reparation, healing, kindness, justification."

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