After a year, Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, closes the Holy Door of Mercy at the Cathedral of Christ the Light.
MICHELE JURICH/THE CATHOLIC VOICE
The Holy Door of Mercy at the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, through which more than 6,000 pilgrims passed during the past 11 months, was closed and tied with a knot on Nov. 20 by Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, at the beginning of the 10 a.m. Sunday Mass.
The bishop also thanked the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and Catholic Charities organizations, "and the religious sisters who dedicate their whole lives to the corporal and spiritual works of mercy." Representatives from various orders, including the Missionaries of Charity, who serve at St. Mark Parish in Richmond, were seated in the congregation.
But mercy didn't end there.
In his homily, the bishop spoke of the power of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, at the heart of Pope Francis' declaration of the Jubilee of Mercy, noting that it had been available for extended hours at the cathedral during the jubilee year, which began Dec. 8, 2015.
The bishop also recognized those who had taken part in activities during the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. He asked eighth-graders in the diocese's Catholic schools, in September 2015, to participate in spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
He also requested that they write letters to him, letting him know of their actions. He quoted from a letter from one student, who after working with classmates to make 200 sandwiches, distributed them to homeless people. She walked home from school that day, she wrote, feeling "lighter than a feather."
"That child received grace," he said. "It was Jesus she fed."
Bishop Barber thanked participants in the Mercy Project video project — many were in the cathedral for Mass, and those who had helped with the various events, included the enrichment series that was put on in parishes by the Department of Faith Formation and Evangelization, and the Sept. 6 interfaith gathering for prayer for peace at the cathedral. The video project remains online at www.jubileeofmercy-eb.org.
During the jubilee year, the bishop said he had asked parishes to host a refugee family in cooperation with Catholic Charities of the East Bay, and that the diocese was asked by city and county officials, in particular Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley, to provide a refuge for young women who are victims of human trafficking. "This we are now doing," he said. Plans call for the residence, Claire's House, to open in 2017.
At the conclusion of Mass, scrolls containing the prayers of those who had made the pilgrimage to the cathedral were placed on the altar, right before the final blessing.
Margaret Turek, director of Faith Formation and Evangelization, invited those in attendance who wished to deepen their faith to consider the offerings at the diocese's St. Francis de Sales School for Pastoral Ministry. The Old Testament, Christian prayer and spirituality, The Creed, the Sacraments, Catholic Moral Thought and the Mission of the Laity are among the topics of courses that will begin in February 2017. Classes meet one Saturday a month at Holy Names High School in Oakland. Information is available at http://bit.ly/2gZKHZ2.
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