|Bishop Richard Moth (Centre) with on the left Anglican Bishop of Chichester,|
Rt Rev Martin Warner and Dean of Chichester Cathedral, Rev Stephen Waine.
Pope Francis had already opened a Holy Door on Tuesday 8th December at St Peter’s in Rome and had called upon fellow Bishops around the world to open a Holy Door in their own Cathedrals and important churches in their diocese for the Year of Mercy.
Doors are a symbol of openness to God’s mercy. Bishop Richard said in his recent Pastoral Letter to the Diocese “The Holy Door of Cathedral or Church must be a reminder to us of the door of the heart and the Gospel calls us to open the doors of our hearts and minds to the gift of mercy. We must be bearers of that mercy to the refugee, to the asylum seeker, to the prisoner and the victim of crime, to the one who is homeless, to the one who may have a roof over their head but seeks the peace and mercy that comes in knowing Christ.”
Two other Holy Doors were opened across the Diocese on the same day, at The Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation, West Grinstead, West Sussex and at the Parish of Christ the Prince of Peace, Weybridge in Surrey. A third door is to be opened at the start of the new term in January in the chapel at Mayfield School in East Sussex.
Bishop Richard called on the people of the Diocese, during his sermon at the Mass for the opening of the Holy Door, to be missionaries, sharing God’s mercy with the world and pointing the way to Jesus Christ. He said “We must find the joy of the Gospel in the depth of our being.” A joy to share with the whole world.
He also called for a renewal of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) just as he had in his recent Pastoral Letter Bishop Richard where he also charged the people of the Diocese “to reach out to those who are estranged from the Church or who, for whatever reason, have not heard the message of the Gospel.”
Finally in his homily he left us with the prayer that for ourselves and for others: “We may be ever open to God’s mercy.”
The Mass concluded with the blessing of an Icon of Our Lady of Consolation, a copy of the Icon at the shrine in West Grinstead, which is to travel around the Diocese to parishes, prisons and schools in the course of the year. A sign of the mercy of God received through Mary, the mother of Jesus.
During the year he wishes the people in the Diocese not only to carry out acts of mercy for our neighbours, to reach out to all distanced from the Church, but also to deepen their life of prayer and their relationship with God, and finally to go in pilgrimage to one of the designated Holy Doors.
There is a full programme of events now in place to support all these aims, details of which are on the Diocesan website – www.abdiocese.org.uk.
|Mass celebrated in front of the Icon of Our Lady of Consolation|