By Dave Guthro, Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland
PORTLAND, Maine — In observance of the 350th anniversary of Notre-Dame de Quebec Basilica-Cathedral, Bishop Robert P. Deeley will lead a pilgrimage from the Diocese of Portland to Quebec City Friday-Sunday, Oct. 3-5.
The journey will include the opportunity to go through North America’s only Holy Door.
Holy Doors are sanctioned by the Vatican to mark significant jubilees in the history of the Catholic Church. Notre-Dame de Quebec Basilica-Cathedral is the oldest parish in North America. In celebration of the 350th anniversary of its founding in 1664, Cardinal Gerald Lacroix of Quebec was granted permission from the Holy See to have a Holy Door erected. There are only six other Holy Doors: four in Rome, one in France and one in Spain.
“It is a visual symbol of internal renewal which begins with the willing desire to make peace with God, reconcile with your neighbors, restore in yourself everything that has been damaged in the past, and reshape your heart through conversion,” said Cardinal Lacroix.
“Cardinal Lacroix desires that this jubilee celebration be not only for the Archdiocese of Quebec, but that it be a celebration of the introduction of the Catholic faith in North America,” said Bishop Deeley. “Passage through the Holy Door is an opportunity to renew and deepen our faith and ask our loving God for the graces and indulgences granted to those who participate in a visit to the Holy Door.”
The Holy Door is made of bronze with images of Jesus and Mary carved on either side. It was opened on Dec. 8, 2013, and will remain open until Dec. 28, 2014. It will then be locked until the next time the Holy Doors in Rome are opened in 2025.
The pilgrimage also will feature the opportunity to visit many historical locations in the city such as the tombs of Marie de l’Incarnation and Saint François de Laval.
Bishop Deeley will celebrate a Mass on each day of the trip, including a Saturday Mass in the Basilica-Cathedral.