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Holy Doors and Plenary Indulgences


A Holy Door is a special door in a Cathedral, Basilica or other parish of special significance that becomes a pilgrimage site during a Jubilee Year. While these are usually celebrated every 25 years, Pope Francis has designated this year as the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

Walking through the Holy Door during a Jubilee Year shows, as the Holy Father said, “the deep desire for true conversion” and is one of the conditions for receiving a plenary indulgence.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines an indulgence as “a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfaction of Christ and the saints.” (CCC 1471). A plenary indulgence removes all of the temporal punishment due to sin and can be applied either to oneself or to the souls of the deceased.

To receive a plenary indulgence, each pilgrim must walk through a Holy Door and on the same day or withing 20 days:

  1. Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation,

  2. Receive the Holy Eucharist while reflecting on God’s great gift of mercy,

  3. Make a profession of faith (recite the Apostles’ or Nicene Creed), and

  4. Pray for the Holy Father and for his intentions (and Our Father and a Hail Mary are suggested).

The Jubilee Year of Mercy ends on November 20th. Don’t wait any longer to walk through the Holy Door and receive a plenary indulgence!

List of Holy Doors in the Archdiocese of Toronto: 

List of Holy Doors in the Diocese of Hamilton:


Holy Door at Saint Peter’s Cathedral in Rome

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