Year of Mercy

Official Pilgrimage Site

The Monastery of St. Clare is an official pilgrimage site for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Archbishop Robert J. Carlson has encouraged all to visit the sites listed below or  Download the Year of Mercy Pilgrimage Sites list here (pdf). One Plenary Indulgence may be gained daily by visiting designated pilgrimage sites. 

Pilgrimage Sites in the Archdiocese:

Pilgrimage sites of Contemplative communities:

What is the Year of Mercy?

The Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy is a remarkable occasion during which the entire Catholic Church, under the humble leadership of Pope Francis, opens wide the doors to the saving mercy of Christ. The Year of Mercy is celebrated from December 8th, 2015—the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the 50th anniversary of the closing of Vatican II— to the Solemnity of Christ the King on November 20, 2016.

During this special period of time in the Church, Pope Francis calls all Catholics to be profound witnesses to mercy and to “find the joy rediscovering and rendering fruitful God’s mercy, with which we are all called to give comfort to every man and every woman of our time.” To learn more, visit the Vatican’s official Year of Mercy website, or read a summary of the Papal Bull in which the Holy Father announced the Extraordinary Jubilee Year.

Throughout the Church’s history, Jubilee Years have been enriched by three signs which attest to the mercy of God, the redemption by Christ, and which foster the faith and devotion of the Christian people.

These signs are: Pilgrimage, The Holy Door and Jubilee Indulgence.


In the Jubilee Year, the experience of pilgrimage becomes a tangible sign of the choice of an individual to journey toward Christ, through sacrifice, penance, and prayer.

In the course of the Jubilee Year, the faithful are invited to make prayerful pilgrimages to one or more local churches that have been designated by Archbishop Robert Carlson.

Your pilgrimage visits should include: 

  • Participation in Holy Mass or another liturgical service such as Morning or Evening Prayer or acts of piety such as the Stations of the Cross, praying the Rosary, or visits to the Blessed Sacrament
  • Spending time in prayerful meditation
  • Concluding your visit with prayer for the Holy Father: the Our Father, the Apostles’ Creed or the Profession of Faith from Mass, and a prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary

One Plenary Indulgence may be gained daily by visiting designated pilgrimage sites. 

Holy Door

Why Are the Doors Sealed?

One of the traditions for a Jubilee Year is the ceremonial opening of the Holy Door in each of the four great basilicas in Rome.

The opening, passing through, and sealing of the Holy Door at the end of the Jubilee Year have become significant elements in the Church’s Jubilee Year celebrations.

Most Catholics will be unable to make a pilgrimage to Rome during this Jubilee Year; however, you can make a pilgrimage at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis or at another local pilgrimage site.

The center narthex doors of the Cathedral Basilica were sealed on September 8, 2015, the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to remind the faithful to prepare their hearts for the Jubilee Year of Mercy which begins on December 8, 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

The doors will be opened again on December 13, 2015.

For a longer explanation by Dr. Ed Hogan about the Sealing of the Doors, visit the Virtual Vestibule.


Jubilee Indulgence

What is an Indulgence? 

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints. An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin. Indulgences may be applied to the living or the dead.” (CCC #1471)

What are the “Prescribed Conditions” for Receiving an Indulgence? 

In addition to the acts of charity, penance, and pilgrimage that are particular to the Jubilee Indulgence, the Church prescribes three “usual” conditions: • Sacramental Confession • Reception of Holy Communion • Prayer for the Pope’s intentions.

The Jubilee Indulgence is a plenary indulgence. The plenary indulgence can be applied once a day in suffrage for one’s self or for the souls of the deceased. The Church’s usual conditions for gaining an indulgence apply in connection with the Jubilee Indulgence.


Archdiocese of St. Louis Year of Mercy Calendar of Events

Prayer for the Year of Mercydownload a prayer card PDF

St. Louis Review:

Vatican Jubilee Year of Mercy:

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

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