Diocese of Madison begins Year of Mercy Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015 -- 12:00 AM
door of mercy

Parishioners enter the open Door of Mercy at St. Patrick Church in Madison, part of Cathedral Parish. The Holy Door at St. Patrick Church in downtown Madison is one of three Holy Doors designated for the Year of Mercy in the Diocese of Madison. The other two Holy Doors are at Holy Redeemer Church (Cathedral Parish) and the Schoenstatt Founder Shrine, both in Madison.

To view or purchase photos, go to

(Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

MADISON -- “Open the gates of justice; we shall enter and give thanks to the Lord.”

With those words by Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison and a knock, one of three Doors of Mercy were opened in the Diocese of Madison at St. Patrick Church in Madison, part of Cathedral Parish of St. Raphael.

“This is the Lord’s gate: let us enter through it and obtain mercy and forgiveness,” the bishop continued.

December 13 marked the official beginning of the Year of Mercy, a jubilee declared by Pope Francis, in the Diocese of Madison.

Two other Doors of Mercy were also opened that day; at Holy Redeemer Church and at the Schoenstatt Shrine, both in Madison. There was also a Solemn Opening Mass held at St. Maria Goretti Church in Madison later in the day.

Opening the Doors of Mercy

Prior to Mass and opening the door at St. Patrick, parishioners gathered in the narthex for opening prayers by the bishop and Pastor Msgr. Kevin Holmes reading a proclamation from Pope Francis’ Bull of Induction for the Year of Mercy and a Gospel reading.

Bishop Morlino, followed by Monsignor Holmes, Master of Ceremonies Fr. Greg Ihm, the choir, and parishioners then processed to the front door of the church, which serves as the Door of Mercy.

The bishop kissed the doors as they were opened, followed by a full processional into the church as Mass began.

A similar ceremony took place at Holy Redeemer Church in Madison, also part of Cathedral Parish.

There, Parochial Vicar Fr. José Luis Vazquez led prayers before opening the door, the front door of the church, prior to the start of the Spanish Mass.

Following the door’s opening, parishioners processed in behind Father Vazquez and he also blessed the church’s confessionals containing the diocesan “Behold the Door of Mercy” logos for the Year of Mercy, December 8, 2015, to November 20, 2016. He also blessed the Holy Water font.

Uniting with others around the world

The third Door of Mercy was opened at the Schoenstatt Shrine on Madison’s east side. It is located on the door of the Founder Shrine at Schoenstatt Heights.

For this ceremony, the door was opened following the Mass, instead of prior to it. This is in union with the opening of the Door of Mercy in Schoenstatt, Germany, where the movement was founded.

Fr. Randy Timmerman, pastor of St. Dennis Parish in Madison, celebrated Mass for the Schoenstatt Sisters and others.

Following Mass, Deacon John Houseman, from St. Patrick Parish in Janesville, and Father Timmerman led prayers prior to a procession.

The procession to the Founder Shrine was led by 14 teens and children, each carrying a banner with a Corporal or Spiritual Work of Mercy written on it.

As Father Timmerman said, “Open the gates of justice; we shall enter and give thanks to the Lord,” he cut a ribbon, opening the door.

The crowd then processed inside for a blessing with holy water and prayers to the Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt, to intercede during the Year of Mercy.

Solemn Opening Mass

As day turned to evening, a Solemn Opening Mass for the Year of Mercy was celebrated at St. Maria Goretti Church, with Bishop Morlino presiding.

As Mass got underway, he thanked everyone for coming and said, “We can rejoice because Jesus Christ is still risen from the dead . . . it’s our obligation to celebrate our joy in receiving the mercy of Christ.”

During his homily, Bishop Morlino reflected on the Gospel reading of the people coming to John the Baptist asking, “What should we do?”

The bishop said John the Baptist was given “the benefit of the doubt” being asked that question and awaiting answers.

Bishop Morlino said giving the benefit of the doubt is one of the two areas we need to focus on during the Year of Mercy, along with being patient.

“Those are the attitudes from which flows mercy,” he said.

“That’s the transformation that we’re called to,” added Bishop Morlino, “we’re called to give benefit of the doubt to those who are our teachers in the Church and to be patient with them.”

“Let us develop our attitude of mercy this year,” he said.

Year of Mercy indulgences

As Mass concluded, Bishop Morlino granted a papal blessing to the people in attendance.

The possibility for an indulgence came with the blessing, under the usual conditions -- a person must be in the state of grace, make a sacramental Confession, receive the Holy Eucharist, pray for the intentions of the Holy Father, and have the interior disposition of being detached from sin, including venial sin.

An indulgence is also available during the Year of Mercy for anyone who passes through the Doors of Mercy.

For more on how the Diocese of Madison is observing the Year of Mercy, go to

Please support our advertisers: