Year of Mercy enhances annual rosary procession

| April 27, 2016 | 1 Comment


Pilgrimage is an apt image of Christian discipleship. Indeed, the earliest disciples were known to be “on the way.”

What is this “way?” It is the way home to the mansions of the Father and into the heart of God himself, that place of rest to which we are all called. This heart of the Father is truly the holiest of the “holy doors” of which Pope Francis speaks, and we are invited to enter with confidence into this great sanctuary of burning love. How fitting to be led through this door by the Mother of Mercy herself, our mama Mary, and on Mother’s Day of all days.

On May 8, Bishop Andrew Cozzens will lead thousands of Catholics from around the archdiocese on pilgrimage from the State Capitol to the beautiful Cathedral of St. Paul, accompanied by the pilgrim image of our Lady of Fatima through the Holy Doors in this jubilee Year of Mercy. For close to 70 years, Catholics from around the archdiocese have joined together for the May Day Rosary Procession, a public declaration of faith and devotion. But this year’s procession takes place within the great jubilee called by Pope Francis, and thus provides Catholics with an opportunity to reap the great spiritual fruits unleashed by our Holy Father.

A special mercy available

Throughout the jubilee year, a plenary indulgence is available to all pilgrims who pass through the Holy Doors in a spirit of contrition and openness to the mercy of God. An indulgence is a particular kind of divine mercy, where all temporal punishment due to sin is remitted.

The Church teaches that every sin not only offends God, but also does damage to the body of Christ. This damage must be healed through restitution of some kind. By means of an indulgence, the damage is healed through the application of the prayers, sufferings and works of the members of the Church, and not necessarily through the repentant sinner’s own efforts to “make things right.” The conditions of a plenary indulgence include being in a state of grace, receiving holy Communion, making a sacramental confession, praying for the intentions of the Holy Father and striving to be detached from all sin.

Some pious act or prayer is also necessary, such as making a pilgrimage or passing through the locally designated Holy Doors of the Cathedral or Basilica. Every diocese has such a set of doors during this great year of grace, and they represent an especially powerful way in which the Holy Father invites us to experience the mercy of the Father.

All Catholics are invited and strongly encouraged to join us for this special day of grace. Pilgrims will gather at the Capitol at 1:30 p.m., and will begin the walk to the Cathedral at 2 p.m. Those unable to make the journey are encouraged to gather at the Cathedral to pray for the pilgrims as they make their journey up the hill. A brief prayer service and a special message, delivered by Bishop Cozzens, will take place when all pilgrims have arrived at the Cathedral. The day will close with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Celebrate Mother’s Day by making a pilgrimage and opening the doors of your own heart to the graces of this great jubilee.

Father Erickson is the director of the Office of Worship of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. For more information about the rosary procession, visit

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Category: The Local Church