JARO, Iloilo City, Dec. 16, 2015 – “Open the gates of justice, we shall enter and give thanks to the Lord.” (Ps 118, 19)
With these words from Psalm 118, and tapping on the Cathedral door with a hammer, Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo opened the “Holy Door” ushering in the Jubilee of Mercy in the Archdiocese of Jaro on Dec. 14.
As the door opened, the prelate invited everyone present, saying: “This is the Lord’s gate: let us enter through it and obtain mercy and forgiveness.”
Jaro Cathedral’s ‘Holy Door’
According to the Cathedral’s Special Assistant for Liturgical Affairs, Msgr. Alejandro P. Esperancilla, “the designated Door of Mercy is the first door in the right transept or at your right-hand side when you face the Cathedral”.
“It was a door seldom used” and which was refurbished for the Jubilee by Jareno artist Jobert Pampliega, the Cathedral liturgist elaborated.
“To highlight the meaning of the Jubilee Year, the ‘holy door’ is decorated with a four-panel bas relief with variations of the theme “Merciful like the Father” as found in the Gospel and in the local church of Jaro,” explained Msgr. Esperancilla.
He went on to describe the door further, saying:
- “On the door’s upper-right corner is the image of the Gospel parable of the woman who found the lost coin to represent joy and mercy;
- On the upper-left corner is the image of the Gospel parable of the finding of the lost sheep;On the lower-right corner is the image of the Patroness of the Archdiocese of Jaro, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, performing a work of mercy of feeding the hungry;
- On the lower-left corner can be found the Seal of the Archdiocese of Jaro decorated with a scroll with the Latin phrase ‘Qui ab Initio’ (“From the beginning”) and the years ’1865-2015′ to recall Pope Pius IX’s Apostolic Bull of that erected Jaro as a diocese and to mark its 150th year of existence celebrated in the Jubilee of Mercy.”
Preparing the Cathedral: a work of mercy
For Fr. Philipp Neil Antenor-Cruz, Special Assistant for Temporal Affairs of Jaro Cathedral, preparing the church in time for the opening of the Holy Door was in itself a work of mercy.
“The personnel and parishioners labored ‘beyond the call of duty’ to transform the Shrine into a pilgrim church for the Jubilee of Mercy,” testified Antenor-Cruz.
“Shop-owners opened their doors beyond regular working days to make available whatever the church needed even at the last minute,” he added.
Antenor-Cruz said the area where the Door of Mercy is found was refurnished not only to make it more meaningful for the Year of Mercy but also to accommodate the expected influx of pilgrims for the Jubilee.
“Aside from a place where pilgrimage groups can celebrate the Holy Eucharist, we have installed confessionals where penitents can receive the sacrament of mercy. We will also install more benches inside and outside the area of the Holy Door for the devotees to have a place for prayer or gatherings,” the priest said. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas / CBCP News)