MIAMI | As a response to the Holy Father’s proclamation of the Year of Faith, 245 students, parents, and sponsors from the parishes of St. Agatha, St. Raymond, and St. Timothy recently journeyed with catechetical leaders of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary on a pilgrimage of faith to the Cathedral of St. Mary, one of the places of plenary indulgence designated by Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski for our archdiocese during this Year of Faith.
ON THE DOOR OF FAITH
Father Christopher Marino, rector of St. Mary Cathedral, has designated the door on the northwest side of the cathedral as the "holy door" during this Year of Faith.
“The ‘door of faith’ (Acts 14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church. It is possible to cross that threshold when the word of God is proclaimed and the heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace. To enter through that door is to set out on a journey that lasts a lifetime. It begins with baptism (cf. Rom 6:4).”
Pope Benedict XVI, Apostolic Letter Porta fidei, n.1
The purpose of the pilgrimage was for the young pilgrims, particularly those preparing to receive the sacraments of holy Communion and Confirmation, along with their parents and sponsors, to have the grace-filled opportunity to enter through the Porta Fidei, the door of faith of our local mother church, and to renew their baptismal promises as one Body in Christ in the womb of our mother church.
For most who journeyed with us it was their first time at the cathedral. Fransua Hayek, one of the confirmandi’s parents, said, “This was a great experience. If it wasn’t for this experience I would not have had the idea to come to the cathedral or have learned about the cathedral.”
Going on pilgrimage to the cathedral is symbolic of our own pilgrimage of faith here on earth: We are setting on a journey out of the desert of the world towards the One who gives us life and life in abundance. This is possible and accomplished most directly under the luminous guidance of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s own pilgrimage of faith.
As in every pilgrimage, at one point, one arrives at a decisive moment: We found ourselves before the Door of Faith. With this simple gesture of physically entering through the holy door, we are proclaiming that this very life of Christ is our explanation for our joy, peace, and fulfillment; and we are telling the Lord that He can count on us because we have responded to His invitation to encounter Him, leaving everything behind that will prevent us from drawing closer to Him.
As we enter through this door, our local mother church welcomes and receives us and offers us her womb to encounter her Son, symbolically visible by the very shape of the dome of the cathedral. Then by renewing our baptismal promises, not only are we reminded of the moment of our baptism, which initiated us in our journey, we also confess with our lips what we believe so as to arrive at a full coherency between what we do and what we believe.
SCHEDULE A PILGRIMAGE
Any parish interested in scheduling a pilgrimage to St. Mary Cathedral may contact Sister Carmen Ors, 305-759-4531, ext. 105.
To nourish us on our continued pilgrimage of faith, Father Christopher Marino, rector of the cathedral, gave us a clear and meaningful catechesis on the characteristics of a cathedral and pointed our gaze to the beauty of our own Cathedral of St. Mary: the beautiful mosaic which in itself is a catechesis that draws us deeper into the mysteries of Christ in the school of His mother; the magnificent stained glass windows of the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and the rich history of the cathedral, which has witnessed protagonists of our times, such as Blessed Pope John Paul II, whose presence and prayers are still felt 25 years since his visit there.
“I learned that ‘cathedral’ comes from ‘cathedra’ because there is a special chair where only the archbishop sits during Mass. I learned a lot about my faith and Jesus today,” said Gabriel Villar, one of the students preparing to receive Communion this year.
Sister Karen Muñiz is a member of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary who serves as director of religious education at St. Timothy Parish in Miami. Born in Managua, Nicaragua, she came to the U.S. at the age of 3 and has lived in Miami ever since. She made her first profession of vows Aug. 22, 2008, feast of the Queenship of Mary. Her full religious name is Sister Karen of the Consoling Love of the Holy Spirit.
J.C. Collar, one of the confirmation catechists who took part in the pilgrimage, said, “I think the visit to the Cathedral of St. Mary was an extraordinary experience. I believe that the children from the CCD program were touched by passing through the door of faith and perceived a special significance in being part of the incredible history of our cathedral. It is programs like these that prepare the children of our parish to enhance their spiritual growth and encourage a closer unity with our Lord and his Church. Thank you for this opportunity.”
Having been filled with the joy of being Christians ready to go out into the deep and continue our earthly pilgrimage of faith, Father Marino imparted his priestly blessing on us before departing.
May our experience of our lived faith move many hearts “to rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ.” (Porta fidei, n.2)
Father Christopher Marino, rector of St. Mary Cathedral, points out the mural that surrounds the sanctuary and explains its significance to parents, sponsors and those preparing to receive confirmation and first Communion this year.