WAKAW, Sask. — The Jubilee for the Sick and Persons with Disabilities celebration June 12 was also the blessing and opening of the third set of Holy Doors of Mercy at the National Shrine of the Little Flower at St. Theresa Parish in Wakaw, Sask.
Committee members welcomed the many pilgrims at a hospitality table in the entrance of the church, followed by the stations of the cross.
Lisa Anderson, a teacher from the St. Therese Institute in Bruno, spoke of the history and meaning of the mural of St. Theresa in the sanctuary at the institute, giving the audience a deeper understanding of the saint’s life.
Bishop Albert Thévenot, M. Afr., gave a talk on the canonization of St. Louis Martin and St. Zelie Martin, the parents of St. Theresa.
He shared the extremely difficult lives of the Martin family. Despite their trials, they were still able to maintain their sanctity. Thévenot felt their canonization should be a spark for married couples in today’s world. He said they give hope for family life and encouragement to reach our own sanctity.
Following the presentations, a buffet luncheon was served. Some people shopped in the religious articles store, while others celebrated reconciliation or continued with their private devotions.
More pilgrims participated in the afternoon celebrations. The crowd gathered at the outdoor altar on the church grounds.
The congregation prayed the chaplet of Divine Mercy. The bishop then blessed the new granite altar.
Thévenot concelebrated with parish priest Rev. Phong Tran and other diocesan priests from various parishes. The fourth-degree Knights of Columbus stood as honour guard as they processed in. After the bishop blessed the holy doors, he walked through them, followed by clergy and pilgrims. The doors were decorated with a painting of the Divine Mercy of Christ, flanked with ivy and two young cedar trees.
Entering through the holy door is a symbolic action of moving from the world into the presence of God. Passing through the door, one acknowledges one’s sinfulness and dependence on God. Pope Francis said that those who cross the door of mercy’s threshold are “called to enter into the merciful love of the Father with complete trust and freedom from fear.”
Following the mass, pilgrims came forward to receive healing prayers and a blessing from Thévenot and the priests. Some came with wheelchairs, walkers and other visible evidence of their need for healing. Many pilgrims said they were touched as younger family members assisted the elderly to the front to receive prayers.
Rev. Millan Sajonas, a Prince Albert diocesan priest, spoke on the mercy of Christ, using scriptural examples. He said that in turn, we need to go out and be merciful to others by living out the works of mercy. Fellowship concluded the spirit-filled day.