By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — In two separate celebrations, Bishop Martin Amos opened the Year of Mercy and in a third celebration, he opened the Doors of Mercy.
On the evening of Dec. 7, the bishop opened the Year of Mercy at a Mass celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception at Sacred Heart Church in Newton on behalf of the Grinnell Deanery. The following evening he opened the Year of Mercy during Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport on behalf of the Davenport Deanery. On Dec. 13 he opened the Doors of Mercy at the cathedral, the mother church of the diocese and one of nine pilgrimage sites for the diocese during the Year of Mercy. Eight other pilgrimage sites also opened their Doors of Mercy on Dec. 13.
At the cathedral, heavy red velvet drapes covered the doors that will serve as Doors of Mercy from now until the end of the Year of Mercy next November. The jubilee year logo was displayed in front of the doors until they were opened by the bishop. After the Mass the logo and the story of the Holy Doors were displayed off to the side.
During the Mass in which the Doors of Mercy were opened, the morning began with the first procession and the singing of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” The bishop stopped midway through the center aisle where he opened the Mass. After the proclamation of the Gospel by Deacon Dan Huber, the Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy was read. “Brothers and sisters, let us go forth in the name of Christ: he is the way that leads us in the year of grace and mercy,” Deacon Huber said.
The second procession took the bishop, servers and others to the vestibule as the congregation sang “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” again.
Behind the closed door the bishop said, “Open the gates of justice, we shall enter and give thanks to the Lord.” Two parishioners pulled back the curtains as the bishop opened the Holy Doors. He said, “This is the Lord’s gate: let us enter through it and obtain mercy and forgiveness.”
Deacon Huber handed Bishop Amos the Book of the Gospels, which he carried in a third procession to the song “The King of Glory.”
During the remembrance of baptism rite, the bishop walked in the center aisle sprinkling holy water on the congregation.
The first reading was recited in Vietnamese. Intercessions were read in Vietnamese and in English. The rest of the Mass was in English.
In his homily, Bishop Amos said, “The opening of the Doors of Mercy during this Jubilee Year, here at Sacred Heart and throughout the diocese and indeed throughout the whole world, is truly a cause for rejoicing and joy.”
He noted that in the Gospel reading the crowds asked John the Baptist what they should do. “Perhaps today we ask: What should we do during this Jubilee Year of Mercy? But perhaps before we ask what should we do, there is another question which should be asked: What has God done?”
Bishop Amos said our first job during this Year of Mercy is “perhaps to reflect and meditate on God’s merciful love. To appreciate and accept that merciful love, not just intellectually, but within our very being.” Our second job, he noted, is to experience the merciful love through the sacrament of reconciliation. (Later that day, he presided at a Reconciliation Liturgy at the cathedral).
He advised the faithful to show merciful love to others in both ordinary and special ways this year.
This is a yearlong, if not a lifelong pilgrimage, the bishop said. Know God’s mercy and be merciful. “Hopefully through our pilgrimage through the Holy Door, this year will deepen our appreciation of God’s mercy and strengthen our love for God and lead us to more concrete love for our neighbor.”