While November 20 is the date for the closing of the Holy Door at St. Peter's Basilica, November 13 was the official closure of about 10,000 Holy Doors throughout the world, including three basilicas in Rome: St. Paul Outside the Walls, St. John Lateran and St. Mary Major.
On Sunday, bishops and cardinals gathered for sacred ceremonies and Masses in each church to prayerfully close the doors. The sovereign ceremony was marked with songs and reflection, focusing on the purpose of the Jubilee Year.
The Archpriests of each basilica, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Cardinal Santos Abril y Castelló, and Cardinal James Michael Harvey each led the events.
CARDINAL JAMES MICHAEL HARVEY
Archpriest, St. John Lateran
"We close the Holy Door, with certainty that you do not abandon your children and that you always accompany us in your mercy."
The opening of Holy Doors signifies that obstacles between God and man are removed. Thus, there is the opportunity to obtain indulgences, symbolizing the opening of a special pathway to Christ without the blockage of sin.
While jubilees usually occur every 25 or 50 years, this has been a special Jubilee Year of Mercy called by Pope Francis, nearly 16 years after the last Great Jubilee year in 2000, called for by John Paul II.
While the Holy Doors of cathedrals and basilicas throughout the world have been closed by bishops and cardinals, the Holy Doors of St. Peter's Basilica will be shut by Pope Francis.