Opening the Local Door of Mercy in Worthing, West Sussex, UK
The Sisters of Mercy in Worthing heard the knocking and were eager to participate in this wonderful gift of Pope Francis. After the Opening of the Door at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome we wanted to celebrate it at home. But firstly, those of us who were able joined in the celebrations at our local Cathedral at Arundel, West Sussex, where Bishop Richard Moth opened the door with beautiful ceremony.
We made a procession from the Parish Hall to the Cathedral after singing the new Hymn for the Holy Year of Mercy composed by Paul Inwood and accompanied by him on the Keyboard: 'Misericordiae Sicut Pater'. We were happy to join in the singing of this because we had learnt it with Sister Kathleen.
Once we reached the Cathedral the burst of song and the celebration with the Bishop and Priests of the Diocese and a packed Cathedral, we realised that the Year of Mercy had really begun. We, as Sisters of Mercy, felt a special call to celebrate this year so we decided to arrange our own local door of Opening. We wanted to include the Sisters in St Mary’s Care Home next door, so we chose the double doors of the beautiful Chapel in the Care Home to make an entrance to our own Holy Door. We found the inspiration for this in Mercy enews and we are happy to be Mercy doorkeepers of the international reflection process.
The Sisters in the Community and in the Care Home joined together to make this a special day, coming as it did after our Foundation Day.
The Ceremony began with a welcome outside the door and an explanation of the significance of the opening of a Holy Door. As we consider the holy door our Lord stands at the door of our hearts knocking. We will open our hearts to him and cross the threshold of hope, striving for holiness. We then sang the Opening Song which was given to us in Mercy enews: 'What Mercy May Yet Be' by Cynthia Serjak rsm. using the correct tune, too. Sister Antonia read from Pope Francis’ 'Misericordiae Vultus' – proclaiming the Jubilee Year of Mercy. We were reminded that 'We need to constantly contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity and peace'. We then came to the knocking at the door, when Sister Jenny knocked at the door three times singing: 'I Stand at the Door and Knock'. On being asked “Who knocks at this Door of Mercy? The responses were as follows:
- All who reside here that they may continue to experience love and mercy.
- The poor and hungry that we may always find a place in our hearts to help them.
- Those who are waiting for peace and justice and an end to all wars.
We then went through the doors into the Chapel. The Gospel Reading from Matthew 25 was proclaimed and we were reminded again of our need to be merciful to the poor, hungry and needy for 'in so far as you did this to one of the least of my brothers and sisters you did it to me'.
After a time of Reflection there was a reading from Sister Elizabeth Davis’ reflection 'Doorkeepers of Mercy' which was reflective and inspiring. We were unable to show the Video but the Reading gave food for thought and prayer. We then spent some time in Intercessory Prayer. Fr Ian McLean who is a Resident at St Mary’s Home joined in the celebration and concluded the Service with a special blessing for all the Sisters of Mercy who are celebrating their lives in proclaiming the Mercy of God.
After the blessing all present sang the special song for the Jubilee Year of Mercy composed by Paul Inwood.
Misericordiae Sicut Pater.
Merciful Like the Father
Messages to: Helen Furness rsm