Catholic Church

Bishops open Jubilee Doors to mark 500 years of Christianity in PH

Paterno Esmaquel II
Bishops open Jubilee Doors to mark 500 years of Christianity in PH

JUBILEE DOOR. Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, opens the Jubilee Door at the Manila Cathedral on Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021.

Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Pope Francis is granting a plenary indulgence, a remission of punishment for sins, to Catholics who visit any of 500 Jubilee Churches until April 22, 2022

“Open the gates of justice. We shall enter and give thanks to the Lord.”

Having pronounced these words, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, who was outside the Manila Cathedral, took a hammer from a priest and used it to knock a bronze door thrice – twice on the right, once on the left.

NO CROWD. Unlike previous rituals to open Jubilee Doors, the one held on Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021, is unprecedented as only priests and altar servers attended it due to the lockdown in Metro Manila.
Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Then the mild-mannered Pabillo, 66, wearing a long white cape used in formal ceremonies, slowly pushed the door wide open. “This is the Lord’s gate,” he declared. “Let us enter through it and obtain mercy and salvation.”

Then he entered – and, holding the staff of a shepherd, knelt.

FAITH. Bishop Broderick Pabillo kneels in prayer as he opens the Jubilee Door at the Manila Cathedral on Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021.
Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Scenes such as this took place in around 80 other cathedrals in the Philippines on Easter Sunday, April 4, to celebrate the 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines. Hundreds of smaller churches will perform the same ritual around the country.

The Manila Cathedral is one of around 500 Jubilee Churches designated by Pope Francis for the 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines. The entrance to these churches is called a Jubilee Door, an example of which is the one Pabillo opened.

HOLY DOOR. For Catholics, entering a holy door such as this one at the Manila Cathedral symbolizes obtaining the mercy of God.
Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

The Pope is granting a plenary indulgence to Filipinos visiting any of more than 500 Jubilee Churches across the country any time from April 4, 2021, to April 22, 2022.

For Catholics, a plenary indulgence is a special blessing that totally removes God’s punishment for sins that have already been forgiven. A Catholic can obtain a plenary indulgence by performing the prescribed act, in this case visiting a Jubilee Church, aside from fulfilling the 3 usual conditions of going to confession, receiving communion, and praying for the Pope.

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List of Jubilee Churches as PH marks 500 years of Christianity

List of Jubilee Churches as PH marks 500 years of Christianity

The opening of the Jubilee Doors on Easter Sunday began the yearlong celebration of 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines. 

On the same day, no less than a message from Francis ushered in this special season of faith for Filipino Catholics. The Vatican on Sunday released the Pope’s video from Rome addressed to Filipinos.

Bishops open Jubilee Doors to mark 500 years of Christianity in PH

“I think of all the difficulties you have had to face, especially in the years of immediate preparation for this jubilee: earthquakes, typhoons, volcanic eruptions, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet despite all that pain and devastation, you continued to carry the cross and to keep walking,” the Pope said.

“You suffered greatly, but you also got up, time and time again. Keep working, rebuilding, and helping one another like good Cyreneans. Thank you too for your witness of strength and trust in God, who never abandons you,” the Pope told Filipinos. “Thank you for your patience, for how you always look ahead despite hardships and keep walking.” – Rappler.com

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.