Cardinal Vincent Nichols was joined by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, for the closing of the Door of Mercy at Westminster Cathedral on 13 November. Archbishop Welby preached for the first time in Westminster Cathedral at the service of Vespers. Also present were bishops from England and Wales, members of the Chapter of Canons, and ecumenical guests.
In his homily, Archbishop Welby reflected on how the Year of Mercy has ‘caught the imagination not only in the Catholic Church but in all churches in a year when the living of mercy has been very absent’. ‘Mercy’, he continued, ‘is the gift that goes on giving’, ‘that dissolves the hardness of our hearts and the selfishness of our lives’.
Archbishop Welby explained that a Door of Mercy ‘calls us back to receive mercy by grace and to be people of mercy’. Drawing a parallel with the door in the wardrobe of the Narnia series of books, he explained that Doors of Mercy open to us a different world: 'what we find on the other side of the door is another world, where new rules apply, where the deep magic of the Kingdom of God is what prevails'.
Reflecting on the close of the Door fo Mercy, he said: 'We may close a door, but we are not closing the opportunity for a gift. The year of mercy is a year of renewing our own receiving of mercy, and of renewing our own commitment to mercy.'
Cardinal Nichols expressed his joy of welcoming Archbishop Welby to this celebration before they jointly gave the final blessing.
The Door of Mercy at Westminster Cathedral was opened by Cardinal Nichols on 13 December 2015 and has remained open throughout the Jubilee Year of Mercy, receiving pilgrims from around the country. The Jubilee Year will conclude on Sunday 20 November when Pope Francis will close the Holy Door at St Peter’s Basilica.
The full text of Archbishop Welby's homily is available to read here.