A few thoughts from the Pastor

What is a Holy Door?

~~Celebrating Year of Mercy at St. Anthony of Padua Church

What is a Holy Door?
Merciful like the Father A Holy Door is a special door in a cathedral, basilica or other parish of special significance that becomes a pilgrimage site during a Jubilee Year. These are usually celebrated every 25 years, although the Pope can designate a Jubilee Year at other times, such as St. Pope John Paul II in 1983 and Pope Francis for the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Walking through the Holy Door during a Jubilee Year is one of the conditions for receiving a Jubilee Indulgence. Learn more about the tradition of Holy Doors here and here.
Where are they located?
The most prominent Holy Door is located at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. This door is famously sealed with brick and mortar until a Jubilee Year. However, the three other Papal Basilicas in Rome (St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major, and St. Paul Outside-the-Walls) also have Holy Doors, and the Basilicas of the Holy Land are likewise traditionally designated as Jubilee Churches.  In the rest of the world, the Jubilee Churches will be the diocesan cathedral or any other locations where the local Bishop decides to open a Door of Mercy.  
Where are the Holy Doors in the Archdiocese of Toronto?
The Holy Doors in the Archdiocese of Toronto are officially opened on Sunday, December 13, 2015 (with the exception of Martyrs' Shrine, which opens May 7, 2016). Cardinal Thomas Collins has selected churches of special significance throughout our geographically vast Archdiocese and St. Anthony of Padua is one of the 7 Churches. 
Jubilee Indulgence
A Jubilee entails the granting of indulgences. This practice will acquire an even more important meaning in the Holy Year of Mercy. God’s forgiveness knows no bounds... The mercy of God… becomes indulgence on the part of the Father who, through the Bride of Christ, his Church, reaches the pardoned sinner and frees him from every residue left by the consequences of sin, enabling him to act with charity, to grow in love rather than to fall back into sin…To gain an indulgence is to experience the holiness of the Church, who bestows upon all the fruits of Christ’s redemption, so that God’s love and forgiveness may extend everywhere. Let us live this Jubilee intensely, begging the Father to forgive our sins and to bathe us in his merciful “indulgence.” (Misericordiae Vultus 22)
What is an Indulgence?
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1471:
The doctrine and practice of indulgences in the Church are closely linked to the effects of the sacrament of Penance.
 “An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints.”
“An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin.” The faithful can gain indulgences for themselves or apply them to the dead.
How to obtain the Jubilee Indulgence:
For those able to make a pilgrimage to one of the Jubilee churches in Rome, that is certainly an option. Otherwise, there are eight churches within the Archdiocese of Toronto with a Holy Door of Mercy.
Going through one of these Holy Doors is a spiritual journey that shows, as the Holy Father said, "the deep desire for true conversion."
In addition to passing through a Holy Door, each pilgrim is to:
1. receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation,
2. receive the Holy Eucharist while reflecting on God's great gift of mercy,
3. make a profession of faith (recite either the Apostles' or the Nicene Creed), and
4. pray for the Holy Father and for his intentions (an Our Father and a Hail Mary are recommended).
For those who are elderly, confined and the ill, Pope Francis said that they may obtain the indulgence:
1. by "living with faith and joyful hope this moment of trial" and
2. by receiving the Eucharist or by attending Mass and community prayer, "even through the various means of communication" (for instance, a Mass offered on television).
For those in prison, they may obtain the indulgence in their prison chapels.
 Indulgences may be obtained for the dead by the carrying out of these same acts by the Faithful with the intention of offering the indulgence for someone who is deceased.
And finally, for all Catholics, this jubilee indulgence may also be obtained when a member of the Faithful personally performs a spiritual or corporal work of mercy