On 7 January a buzz of excitement spread across St Margaret Clitherow Primary School, Stevenage, as the first school pilgrims walked through their newly blessed Door of Mercy.

Since 8 December, pupils and staff have been busy designing and preparing ten special panels to surround the Holy Door. The panels were designed after exploring what mercy means to them and depict a range of symbols relating to Reconciliation, the Eucharist, revelation, celebration, love and community. They are vibrantly decorated and encourage individuals walking through them to consider: ‘Who am I and how can I show the face of Christ to others?’

Pupils and staff worked together to paint the large-scale images and were excited to see the project come together.

The doors are surrounded by evergreen foliage upon which hang prayers and commitments for the Year of Mercy from families and others associated with the school.

Representatives from the Year 6 Chaplaincy Team worked with a teacher to research the essential elements of the Roman Rite of the opening of a Holy Door, before composing their own service.

Finley, a year 6 pupil, said: 'After walking through these doors you will come out a new and better person. They are unique and special; throughout the year they will help us in our actions and spiritually.'

Another pupil, Sophia, said: ‘The Year of Mercy is a time to start over, a new leaf. During this year we try to forgive and use our ‘heart that sees’ to help people in need. It’s like making a promise to Jesus telling him that we will be more like Him through our actions and words.’

Headteacher, Jon White, commented, ‘This has been such a powerful start to the Year of Mercy. The children understand very well what it means to be a “heart that sees” and are ready to meet their neighbour with mercy and compassion. We pray that families walk with us through the door of Mercy this year and see how the Church’s door is left wide open. Each of us can pass through and be renewed; each of us can bring others with us on this journey. The invitation to the door is wide open and our children are ready to respond!’