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New Church Doors

Our Holy Father Francis declared an extradordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy which began on December 8, 2015. In his homily, the Holy Father said “...In a few moments I will have the joy of opening the Holy Door of Mercy. … To pass through the Holy Door means to rediscover the infinite mercy of the Father who welcomes everyone and goes out personally to encounter each of them. It is he who seeks us! It is he who comes to encounter us! This will be a year in which we grow ever more convinced of God’s mercy. ..” And so all who pass through the doors of Annunciation Church should always be reminded that it is here that God’s mercy is always found and freely bestowed. We have the privilege of our church name under the title of “Annunciation” where in the Gospel of Luke Mary is greeted by Elizabeth in an act of faith that Mary will bring forth a son who will become the Savior of the world. A Savior who is always merciful to His people.

As you have probably noticed, we have recently added new panels to the front doors of the church. The figures and scenes depicted in these panels are original castings executed by Timothy Riffle, a renowned sculptor and artist from the Cleveland area. You also may have noticed, in looking at the panels, that they depict all female figures. If you are facing the church from Broad Street, the leftmost door depicts women of the Old Testament, the central door depicts events in the life of the Blessed Mother, and the right depicts women of the New Testament. These sacred doors are dedicated to the women of salvation history with Mary as the Preeminent Icon.

The selections for our doors were inspired in part by the talk given by Pope St. John Paul II at a papal audience on April 3, 1996, on women in salvation history. In this talk, he discussed women in the Old Testament that played a significant role in God’s self-revelation to His people. The women of whom our late Holy Father spoke are all portrayed in our panels: Eve, the “mother of all the living,” Miriam, the prophetess and sister of Aaron the high priest, Deborah, the prophetess of victory, Judith, the model of fidelity to the Lord, Esther, the Israelite queen of the Persians who saved the Israelites from annihilation, and O Abigail, whose wise words to King David saved her entire family from execution.

Saint John Paul II’s teaching culminates in the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is prefigured in all the wise, holy and prophetic women of the Old Testament. In her Annunciation, she is proclaimed to be “full of grace.” In the Visitation, Elizabeth declares her “blessed among all women.” At the Nativity of the Lord, the angels sing “Glory to God in the highest.” We hear at the Presentation that Mary “ponders all things in her heart,” and we rejoice as Mary is assumed into heaven and crowned queen of heaven and earth.

The women of the New Testament, too, show forth the new work that the Father is doing through Jesus. Mary Magdalene, the woman healed of a hemorrhage, the woman at the well, the daughters of Jerusalem and Mary, the sister of Lazarus, along with many other women, played significant roles as friends and disciples of Jesus.

Fourth Sunday of Lent
March 6, 2016