Parish pilgrimage to Holy Door

It must have been a sight for the café set of Islington. A small bus and three cars park and about two dozen people spill out and huddle under the trees in Islington Park. We have with us a large crucifix we use as a processional cross in liturgies. The group then walks down to the front of the Vinnies store and after gathering there for a few minutes, returns to the vehicles and drives off. A car rally? No, some members of the Tighes Hill church community on pilgrimage to the Holy Door.

About three weeks before the pilgrimage all members of the community were given a small cardboard replica of the double doors of the Cathedral which, when opened, displayed a quote from Pope Francis:

May pilgrimage be an impetus to conversion: by crossing the threshold of the Holy Door, we will find the strength to embrace God’s mercy and dedicate ourselves to being merciful with others as the Father has been with us.(Misericordiae Vultus #14)

The Sunday 24 April 2016 pilgrimage journey started after Tighes Hill’s 8am Mass and made several stops before arriving at our Cathedral’s Holy Door. Each stop was a place where in our name, in the name of Church, works of mercy take place. At each stop the pilgrims took time to pray and reflect on one of the Corporal and one of the Spiritual Works of Mercy. When we reflected on these Works of Mercy we remembered that these are primarily God’s giving to us and only secondarily our giving to others − in the same way that God is merciful to us.


Corporal Works of Mercy

Spiritual Works of Mercy

Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Tighes Hill


Give drink to the thirsty (Isaiah 55:1)


Instruct the ignorant  (2 Timothy 4:1b-5)


Mercy Services, 32 Union St., Tighes Hill


Visit the sick (Matthew 8:1-3)


Pray for the dead (2 Maccabees 39-46)


CatholicCare Community Care Van, Islington Park, Maitland Rd, Islington


Feed the hungry (Matthew 14:15-18)


Bear wrongs patiently (Luke 6:27-31)


Society of St Vincent de Paul: Local Conference & Vinnie’s shop 125 Maitland Rd, Islington


Clothe the naked (Matthew 25:31-40)


Admonish the sinner (Luke 15:4-7)


Matthew Talbot Outreach Service, 82 Hannell St Wickham


Shelter the homeless (Isaiah 58:6-8a) 


Forgive offences willingly (Luke  17:3-4)


Mission to Seafarers/Stella Maris, 96 Hannell St Wickham


Visit the imprisoned (Hebrews 13:3)


Comfort the afflicted (Matthew 11:28-30)


Cathedral precinct: Mercy Pastoral Team (Mercy Walking Team),   841 Hunter St Hamilton


Bury the dead (Tobit 1:17)



Counsel the doubtful (John 14:27)


During the pilgrimage we learned a lot about the mercy that God is working in our local area. This was particularly the case when we were invited to have morning tea with the chaplains and volunteers at the Mission to Seafarers/Stella Maris.

When we finally arrived at the Cathedral’s Holy Door, we heard an explanation of the symbolism of Holy Door. After praying for God’s mercy and reaffirming our commitment to Christ in baptism, we each crossed the threshold and were sprinkled with Holy Water by our parish priest, Fr Andrew Doohan.

We processed into the Cathedral singing the chorus of the Year of Mercy hymn and then gathered at the sanctuary to pray the prayer of the Year of Mercy. Our pilgrimage concluded with a blessing from Fr Andrew.

The pilgrimage was a journey of learning, prayer, spiritual conversion and community building. We have taken up a collection at Mass over the past few weeks specifically for us to donate to our local places of Mercy. This practical gesture may also help to have a lasting benefit for the places we visited.

If other parishes would like to plan their own Year of Mercy pilgrimages they can utilise this booklet put together by Lawrie Hallinan for the Tighes Hill pilgrimage. 

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Lawrie Hallinan Image
Lawrie Hallinan

Lawrie is a parishioner at Tighes Hill.

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