The Great Doorway: The Fifth Sunday of Lent 2017


I was revisiting posts prepared for Holy Week several years ago. There is a wonderful image offered for Palm Sunday. Pope Benedict XVI described the day as "the great doorway leading into Holy Week." It is the week when the Lord Jesus makes his way toward the culmination of his earthly existence and journeys through the greatest mysteries of human life.

The Church invites us to celebrate beautiful and significant liturgies as a way of commemorating Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem, his final days on earth with those who loved him, and his movements through the Passion and Death on the Cross, through the splendours and glories of the Resurrection. Pope Benedict at the Sacred Door. Source:

That same image of a sacred door was used by Pope Francis in the recent Year of Mercy. Believers were invited to go as pilgrims through officially designated Holy Doors. One of the doors in the Archdiocese of Toronto was located at the Martyrs' Shrine in Midland, Ontario. It was blessed a year ago, on 07 May 2016, the opening day of the 2016 season.

As of this upcoming  season, the Shrine's Holy Door is located in the St. Ignatius Chapel, which is being unveiled on May 6, on the opening day of the season. This is all part of the newly renovated church basement and includes stained glass windows from Regis College in Toronto. Definitely worth a trip to Midland! 

The Holy Door at Martyrs' Shrine, Midland. Source: twitter.comSacred doors are inviting us to specific places. Benedict's image of a doorway invites us to be with a sacred space in our hearts. Less a particular geographical location than a "place" that invites us to a sense of the sacred. 

Let's take time in this sacred week to be with the Holy. Depending upon where in the world we are, there are no shortage of sacred spaces. Of course, as Etty Hillesum reminds us in An Interrupted Life, "We are at home. Under the sky. In every place on earth, if only we carry everything within us. We must be our own country. When we discover that, the capacity for dwelling, wherever we are, becomes ours." We carry the sacred with us. 

The Greeting at the start of the Palm Sunday liturgy invites us to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. "With all faith and devotion, let us commemorate the Lord's entry into the city of our salvation, following in his footsteps" on the sacred journey of Holy Week.Pope Francis and the start of Palm Sunday. Source:

A doorway leading to Holy Week is an invitation to mysteries both familiar and unknown. I know what to expect, because I have lived with these mysteries all my life. But the events of suffering, death, and resurrection are experienced in ever-new ways. Let's find our own path through the mysteries of this sacred Week. 

Philip Shano, SJ has many years of rich and varied experience working with Ignatian spirituality: teaching, writing and using it in his ministry. He resides in the Jesuit community in Pickering, Ontario.

No Comments

Post A Comment

Subscribe to igNation

Subscribe to receive our latest articles delivered right to your inbox!