By Sarah Mac Donald - 16 January, 2016
“By opening a door, we are door-keepers, we have got to reach out as well as moving in” - Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin.
The Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin is to open a number of holy doors of mercy in churches across his diocese over the coming months.
In an interview with Vatican Radio, Bishop Denis Nulty said his aim was to link a saint and his or her story of faith with the faith of people today.
“Pope Francis would say this is not about a door opening into a church but a door that opens out into a wider community,” Dr Nulty stated.
To mark the start of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, the Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin blessed and opened a Holy Door at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Carlow.
Ahead of the blessing of the door, members of the diocese walked from St Fiach’s icon in the Church of St Claire in Graigcullen and brought Holy Water from St Fiach’s well in Slaney to the cathedral where it was used to bless the Holy Door and everybody in the congregation.
Bishop Nulty said the next Holy Door in the diocese which will be opened will be at the Church of St Brigid in Kildare town on the Sunday before St Brigid’s feast in February.
“We’re going to have a procession from St Brigid’s well, again linking the well, the Saint of the past with the door of the present and future church,” he said.
On Divine Mercy Sunday he will open a holy door in St Fintan’s in Mount Rath and there will also be a procession from the well of St Fintan.
Later in September around the feastday of the birthday of Our Lady (September 8th ) the bishop will open a Holy Door at Duiske Abbey in Graignamanagh beginning with a procession from St Moling’s well.
“As well as opening doors I am hearing confessions in all the churches where I am opening doors. As a bishop we need to lead by example. If a bishop goes to confession, we understand the sacrament very well – and we’ve got to share it with others.”
Bishop Nulty told Vatican Radio that it was important that the diocese incorporate a practical outreach with the wonderful occasion which the opening of a Holy Door offered.
He explained that in Kildare & Leighlin, there is a soup kitchen run by St Claire’s hospitality of Graiguecullen parish which reaches out to the poor in the town of Carlow.
“We also have a share food appeal up at Newbridge and we also have a tremendous collection for the poor in all our churches.”
He paid tribute to the “tremendous response” to a recent appeal on behalf of those on the margins in Portlaoise.
“By opening a door, we are door-keepers, we have got to reach out as well as moving in,” Dr Nulty said.
He said the people of Ireland and beyond “need mercy in bucketfuls” because “we are a broken people”.
He said that particularly in the Western world, people have become caught up in the commercialism of life.
“I am always worried that with growth (financial – economic) comes an apathy towards our faith.”
“We need forgiveness for so much in life. Europe has been catapulted into a huge migrant question which still the European political leaders are struggling to deal with. They are doing their best but it is not an easy simple solution – it takes a lot of reflection and a lot of thought.”
Describing the majority of people in Ireland as quite well off the Bishop said “we need to reach out in mercy to those who are broken on the margins”.