BANGUI DECEMBER 1, 2015 (CISA) – “Bangui is today the spiritual capital of the world,” said Pope Francis as he opened the Holy Door of Bangui’s cathedral on Sunday 29 before beginning of Mass.
This is the first time a Pope has opened a Holy Door outside Rome.
The Jubilee of Mercy does not begin until December 8, but Pope Francis decided to open the Holy Door in the cathedral of Bangui as a sign of prayer and solidarity with the country.
“We all pray for peace, mercy, reconciliation, pardon, love. Throughout the Central African Republic and in all the nations of the world which suffer war, let us pray for peace. And together we all pray for love and peace,” he said.
The rite of the opening of the Holy Door is intended to symbolize that the Church’s faithful are offered an “extraordinary path” toward salvation during the time of jubilee. As part of the Holy Year for Mercy, holy doors for the first time will be designated in dioceses.
These will be located either in the cathedral, in a church of special significance or a shrine of particular importance for pilgrimages.
Each of the four major basilicas in Rome has a holy door. These are normally sealed shut from the inside so that they cannot be opened.
The doors are only opened during jubilee years so that pilgrims can enter through them in order to gain the plenary indulgence that is connected with the jubilee. He called on Christians to be leaders in showing mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
He also asked those involved in unjust conflict to lay down their weapons. “Arm yourselves instead with righteousness, with love and mercy, the authentic guarantors of peace,” said the Pope.
Pope Francis will open the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome when the Holy Year officially begins December 8.