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    » 01/11/2016, 00.00


    Nirmala Giri Mary Matha: the Holy Door in Eluru

    Benigna Menezes*

    Mgr Jaya Rao Polimera opened the Holy Door of Mercy in the Marian shrine. Inaugurated in 2000, the latter attracts thousands of pilgrims each year. Opening the Door "is an unusual thing for Indians, who are used to immersion in river waters." For a Missionary of the Immaculate, "Even Hindus and Muslims are coming here to experience God's mercy." For months, the bishop of Eluru has been unable to get into the cathedral, because of conflicts with rebels and miscreants.

    Vijayawada (AsiaNews) – The Holy Door of Mercy "is the greatest gift given to people since the Church provides complete forgiveness of sins committed in one’s life. For this reason, people from all walks of life are rushing to pass through the Holy Door,” said Fr Rayappa, rector of Nirmala Giri Mary Matha, the Marian shrine in Eluru, in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

    The shrine at Nirmala Giri, which means Our Lady of Health, is the spiritual centre of the Diocese of Eluru. It was inaugurated on 25 March 2000 and every year attracts thousands of pilgrims. "The opening of the Holy Door in our shrine has made the Church very important for pilgrims,” Fr Rayappa said. “Many people come here in search of spiritual comfort."

    On 1 January Mgr Jaya Rao Polimera, bishop of Eluru, opened the Holy Door in front of thousands of people. As he inaugurated the Jubilee of Mercy, he invited all those present to "take advantage of the opportunity to learn about the Catholic Church."

    The Missionary Sisters who run the Damien Leprosy Centre in Vegavaram began their pilgrimage the day after the door was opened. "It really is a great opportunity to receive forgiveness for all our sins and provide us the grace to be merciful towards others,” said Sister Vincent, MSI.

    "In India, where people consider pilgrimages, shrines and immersion in river waters as acts of inner cleansing, the concept of entering a door to receive Mercy is an unusual idea,” said another nun. “Even Hindus and Muslims are coming here to experience God's mercy."

    "Going through this door requires a genuine desire for conversion,” Fr Rayappa explained, “as one who seeks to cross over the threshold of Christ, from sin to grace, from slavery to freedom, from darkness to light. When one crosses this threshold, one is greeted by the loving experience of a God who consoles, pardons and instils in us a future full of hope.”

    Even though the opening of the Holy Year was greeted by demonstrations of joy by the local community in Nirmala Giri, the Diocese of Eluru has been unable to open the Holy Door in the diocesan cathedral because of disagreements with some rebels and miscreants.

    "This is really painful,” said a Catholic source, anonymous for security reasons, “because the bishop has not been able to enter the cathedral for some months”.

    * Missionary of the Immaculate Conception, Congregation of women associated with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME)

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    See also

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    Jubilee of students in Lahore: Be peaceful channels against the scourge of terrorism

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    Pilgrims to the Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount kneel in front of the priest and ask to confess. Msgr. Nereus Rodrigues is rector of the Basilica, where Card. Gracias opened the Holy Door. The bishop has set up panels that draw attention to the corporal works of mercy. The Holy Door decorated with messages. Thousands of pilgrims visiting.

    14/12/2015 INDIA – VATICAN
    Jubilee of Mercy among India’s survivors of anti-Christian persecution
    ​Holy Doors open in the Indian dioceses of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, Bhopal and Bangalore. “Today we pass through the Holy Door and remember another door, the one the Synod Fathers of the Second Vatican Council opened to the world 50 years ago,” said the archbishop of Bhopal. Some 3,000 faithful, including many tribals, attended the service in the diocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar.

    29/11/2015 VATICAN - CAR
    Pope opens Holy Door in Bangui calls on Christians to be artisans of peace based on justice
    "To all those who make unjust use of the weapons of this world, I make this appeal: lay down these instruments of death! Arm yourselves instead with righteousness, with love and mercy, the authentic guarantors of peace ." "The happiness promised by God is announced in terms of justice" and "the salvation of God also tastes of love."

    10/08/2016 11:50:00 VATICAN
    Pope: At the Holy Door, Jesus says "Arise!". "With my heart healed I do works of mercy"

    At the general audience in the Paul VI Hall, Pope Francis compares the miracle of the widow of Nain to the change every person undergoes passing through the Holy Door. "Drawing towards the Door of Mercy, everyone knows they are drawing close to the door of the merciful heart of God, of Jesus". “This is the door where the suffering of humanity encounters the compassion of God". From a change of "heart" to the "hands" that perform "acts of mercy". Holy Doors are both "inward" and "outward bound".

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