Bengaluru: Dr Bernard Moras, Archbishop of Bengaluru has opened the main door of St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral on December 13 in the presence of scores of priests and a large number of people. The lengthy celebration was divided into parts. (He will open the main doors of St. Mary’s Basilica and Infant Jesus’ Church on January 2 and 3 respectively).
Besides band set and cross bearer, a priest carried a Bible in a raised position. The priests went in a procession followed by the Archbishop. During the initial service on the Cathedral grounds, Fr Anthony Swamy welcomed the Archbishop, the Vicar Generals, all the priests and the lay faithful. He invited all to experience the mercy of God during the celebration and all through the Year of Mercy.
Archbishop and different priests spoke in three languages explaining the significance and importance of the jubilee year of mercy and the opening of the door of the cathedral. A Sister from Mount Carmel College led the song of Mercy in Latin and the choir joined in. The Archbishop, priests and the lay faithful went in a procession to the front of the Cathedral.
He and other dignitaries lighted the traditional lamp to mark the opening of the cathedral door. The Archbishop opened the main Cathedral door ceremoniously and entered the church along with other priests. Archbishop Moras placed a Bible on the altar and garlanded it after veneration of the Word of God. The Archbishop and other priests sprinkled holy water on the faithful prior to the concelebrated holy Mass.
Archbishop Moras who had recently gone to Rome and met Pope said during the Extra ordinary Jubilee of Mercy, Holy Father has focused on several points to enable the celebration of the Holy Year to be for all believers a true moment of encounter with the mercy of God.
The Motto of the Holy Year of Mercy, “Merciful like the Father,” (Lk. 6:36) serves as an invitation to follow the example of the Compassionate Father who asks us not to judge or condemn but to forgive and give love and forgiveness without measure.
It is, indeed, the Pope’s wish that Jubilee be a living experience of the closeness of the Father so that the faith of every believer may be strengthened and thus testimony to it be ever more effective. Pope’s thoughts first of all go to the faithful who will experience the grace of the Jubilee. “You may call God love or goodness, but the best name for Him is compassion. “The story of Jesus is a story of mercy. The Good News of Jesus is that God is compassionate Father and there is no limit to his compassion.
Pope Francis has been prophet of hope from the first moments of his office and people-centred and particularly of the people who are rejected for various reasons by the large society. The refugees, the victims of war and hatred, those marginalized for their moral conditions, wars waged for religions and the young people, the humble folk of the society, following Jesus, he goes by the Spirit of the Lord who is upon Him. The Archbishop in his homily further said the Holy Father proposed a year of reflection on the merciful face of the Father through the Revelation of the Word of God, particularly the Gospel of Mercy, viz., the Gospel of Luke.
Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy. These words could sum up the mystery of Christian faith. Mercy has become living and visible in Jesus. The Father, ‘rich in mercy’ (Eph2:4), after having revealed his name to Moses as “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness”(Ex. 34:6)”has never ceased to show, in various ways throughout history, his divine nature. In the “fullness of time” (Gal 4:4), when everything had been arranged according to his plan of salvation, he sent his only son into the world, to reveal his love for humanity in a definitive way. Whoever sees Jesus,sees the Father (Jn 14:9). Jesus of Nazareth, by his words, his actions and his entire person reveals the mercy of God.
Dr Moras said, ‘we need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy,serenity and peace. Each person’s salvation depends on it. We are called to gaze even more attentively on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives. For this reason, it was proclaimed and Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy as a special times for the Church; a time when the witness of believers might grow stronger and more effective.
Throughout the history of humanity, God will always be the One who is present, close, provident, holy and merciful.
“Patient and merciful”. These words often go together in the Old Testament to describe God’s nature. “For his mercy endures forever”. Mercy renders God’s history with Israel, a history of salvation. Mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life. The Church “has an endless desire to show mercy. We have long since forgotten how to show and live the way of mercy.
Among other things the Archbishop also said the Holy Father has great desire to revive this aspect of mercy making Jubilee as a living experience. Archbishop Moras explained the plenary indulgence the Pope has promised.
“An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin.” An indulgence is a remission before God and a temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven. Holy Father’s thoughts go to every individual and to reach each person. He strives for the good of every person, the Church and the entire world. Sickness and diseases leave a person if he or she enters through the Holy Door but only if one is prepared with spiritual exercises. Jubilee indulgence is to be celebrated with hope, faith and charity. This one year is to welcome new life. Holy Father has understanding and concern for women especially those resort to abortion. Pope Francis said pressure led them to do it. To prepare them towards reconciliation with the Father, he has given permission for all priests all over the world to absolve sins of abortion during this year of mercy.
Fr C Francis, VG, presenting a message on the occasion in Kannada, spoke of God’s mercy with illustration from practical life. He said mercy is preferred to justice. Fr S Jayanathan, VG, also spoke on the occasion in Tamil, quoting from the Bible. He exhorted all to trust in God’s mercy and sins to be given up.
Archbishop imparted Pope’s special blessings to all priests, nuns and lay faithful of the Archdiocese and the entire Karnataka. Dr. Moras also intoned the Jubilee prayer. The opening of the Jubilee Door of the Cathedral came to a close with an Asst. parish priest proposing a vote of thanks. Archbishop also thanked all the priests, nuns and the faithful. He particularly thanked both VGs, Frs Jayanathan, C Francis and Fr Anthony Swamy (Parish Priest, PRO and Chacellor) for organizing such a grant celebration.
Choir groups sang in three languages.