Vatican City, Jan 1, 2016 / 12:35 pm
Reflecting particularly on Mary's title as "mother of mercy," Pope Francis opened the Holy Door at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome on Jan. 1.
"It is most fitting that on this day we invoke the Blessed Virgin Mary above all as 'mother of mercy.' The door we have opened is, in fact, a Door of Mercy," Pope Francis said. "Those who cross its threshold are called to enter into the merciful love of the Father with complete trust and freedom from fear; they can leave this Basilica knowing that Mary is ever at their side."
The Pope's remarks came on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. As part of his celebration of the day, the pontiff opened the final holy door of the four major basilicas in Rome.
The other three major basilicas – St. Peter's, St John Lateran, and St. Paul "Outside the Wall" –have already had their holy doors opened during the early days of the Jubilee of Mercy, an Extraordinary Holy Year called for by Pope Francis that began Dec. 8 with the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and will end on the Solemnity of Christ the King, Nov. 20, 2016.