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Special Masses to close Jubilee of Mercy

As the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis concludes this month, the Archdiocese of Omaha will mark the occasion with two special celebrations.

A 9:30 a.m. Nov. 13 Mass at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha will celebrate the archdiocese’s closing of the jubilee year, including closing the cathedral’s door of mercy. The archdiocese will be united with other dioceses around the world as they, too, mark the jubilee’s end.

And the week before, Archbishop George J. Lucas will celebrate a Nov. 6 Mass, also at 9:30 a.m. at the cathedral, to bless members of the St. Cecilia Choir before they travel to Rome to take part in Pope Francis’ Nov. 20 final Mass of the jubilee year and closing of the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Others in the archdiocese also will attend the Nov. 20 Mass, including two dozen people on a Nov. 12-21 pilgrimage to Rome organized by the Catholic Voice.



"The pope’s theme from the beginning of his papacy has been the mercy of God," said Father Michael Gutgsell, pastor of St. Cecilia Parish and rector of St. Cecilia Cathedral. "It was his goal that this would be a theme for the whole world to participate in" through the jubilee.

"This was a way to draw the whole church into a prayerful and liturgical experience," he said.

An official prayer will be used to close the cathedral’s door of mercy at the Nov. 13 Mass, Father Gutgsell said, "and the use of that door as the symbolic holy year door will end; the door won’t be used the remainder of that Sunday, but will return to regular use the next day."

Although the jubilee is ending, "the Gospel is about mercy and that never goes away, so we must continue to be open to that Gospel call to be receptive to mercy and to be instruments of mercy," Father Gutgsell said.



During the final Mass in Rome, 29 members of the St. Cecilia Choir will sing with several other U.S. choirs and the Sistine Chapel Choir as a 300-voice ensemble.

"The choir’s participation is a unique opportunity for Catholics of the Omaha archdiocese to be active participants in the pope’s actions as he closes the worldwide year of mercy," Father Gutgsell said.

In addition to the closing Mass, the choir’s Nov. 14-21 pilgrimage will include singing at the Catacombs of St. Callixtus, the Basilica of St. Cecilia, the Church of St. Paul Inside the Walls, and two Masses at St. Peter’s Basilica, one where they will join with choirs from Chicago, Minneapolis and Sioux City, Iowa.

The choir also is gathering prayer petitions from people throughout the archdiocese to take with them to the Nov. 20 Mass in Rome, said Marie Rubis Bauer, director of music for the archdiocese and St. Cecilia Cathedral.

To be included, send prayer petitions by e-mail to with the subject line, Papal Mass Prayer Intentions.

The petitions will be transcribed into a leather-bound book, which will be carried to the jubilee Mass, she said. "We wanted an opportunity for those who were not there in person to be able to be there in a special way."


Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy began Dec. 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, with the opening of the Holy Door in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Designated doors of mercy opened Dec. 13 in dioceses around the world, joining the pope as he opened another Holy Door at the Cathedral of Rome – the Basilica of St. John Lateran. More than 700 people celebrated the opening of the door of mercy at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha.

An archdiocese-wide pilgrimage to the cathedral on Pentecost Sunday, May 15, brought individuals, families and delegations from numerous parishes through the door of mercy as they attended one of three special Masses.

The Catholic Voice

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