12/15/2015, 00.00
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The Holy Door to Moscow’s Catholic cathedral opens for the first time

Archbishop Paolo Pezzi led the ceremony. In his homily, he said that mercy is not only us who thirst for Christ, but also He who is thirsty for us. An inter-diocesan pilgrimage from Russia to Rome is planned for 2016.

Moscow (AsiaNews) – Like in other parts of the world, the Holy Door was opened for the first time in history in Moscow to mark the beginning of Pope Francis’ Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. Last Sunday, Mgr Paolo Pezzi, head of the Archdiocese of the Mother of God at Moscow, led the ceremony at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

In his message for the Holy Year, Mgr Pezzi encouraged "every Christian", lay and clergy, “to discover the ministry of charity and practice it every day, on a regular basis, turning to what is closest to us, a needy family, a hospital, or an orphanage.”

In his homily on the day of the opening of the Holy Door in Moscow, the archbishop focused on the mercy of God the Father who, through Jesus, always “seeks out men and women.”

"Like everyone, I went through this experience thanks to those who love me and accept me,” the prelate said. “In life nothing is more beautiful and valuable than another person’s happiness in seeing you, as you are, for no particular reason, because you are just yourself."

The Holy Year comes in the season of Advent, "a time of waiting, of deep longing for Christ. Since God is charity, we discover that not only we miss him, but He misses us."

"This is the point. God is the one we are missing; he is the one whose absence we feel. We too can quench the thirst for God, by going home, responding to his eternal call," said Mgr Pezzi citing the example of the parable of the prodigal son.

"Mercy is this excitement in God’s heart,” he added. “There is nothing that can draw people more than the manifestation of this selfless love, which intrudes in their life."

"There is no more compelling reason to return to our Father's house than the premonition or the memory of this unconditional love. We love even if we do not deserve it. We believe that it is in the order of things, but in reality it is something extraordinary."

"If a person recognises such merciful and selfless love and God’s tireless initiative, then the miracle happens,” Mgr Pezzi said. “Humans can accept themselves and give themselves over to this love that transforms them."

In 2016, an inter-diocesan pilgrimage to Rome is planned for all four Russian dioceses and two pilgrimages from the Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow. (M.A.)

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