Many of you know that Pope Francis has declared this year an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. As part of the jubilee year tradition, individuals, families and groups have made pilgrimages to the holy sites in Jerusalem and to the major basilicas in Rome. Pope Francis desires to make the celebration as easy as possible for people to participate in. He has delegated to all bishops the ability to designate their cathedrals as well as other churches and shrines in their diocese as pilgrimage sites.
Bishop Kettler, bishop of the Diocese of St. Cloud, has named our Sacred Heart Chapel as a pilgrimage site. As part of being a pilgrimage site, we are to designate a “Holy Door.” The door leading into the chapel’s gathering space has been chosen as our Holy Door. We placed a sign, which Sister Tonie Rausch designed and made, over the entry. We also posted the Bishop’s decree, which designates Sacred Heart Chapel as a pilgrimage site.
We are anticipating visitors coming (on pilgrimage) to our chapel throughout this year. We have a sign-in book on a podium in the gathering space. Also available near the podium is a special booklet for the visitors to use for prayer and reflection while they are here.
We will also be incorporating some of the themes of the holy year in our other activities throughout the year. We hope that this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy will be a special one for our Franciscan community and larger community. May we all be blessed in a special way this year.