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Throwback Thursday: History of a Holy Door

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From the April 5, 1957 edition of The Catholic Telegraph-Register. (CT File)
From the April 5, 1957 edition of The Catholic Telegraph-Register. (CT File)

The Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains in downtown Cincinnati was first built in the 1840s, but the massive bronze doors presently serving as the Holy Door for the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy were installed in 1957.

Today’s Throwback Thursday is a photo of former Cincinnati Archbishop Karl J. Alter, and former auxiliary Bishop Clarence G. Issenmann examining the new bronze doors shortly after their installation. The photo is from the April 5, 1957 edition of The Catholic Telegraph-Register.

Also included with this post is a photo of those same doors in 2015 while sealed in preparation of the Year of Mercy.  During the Year of Mercy, members of the archdiocese and other Catholics visiting the area may receive a plenary indulgence by passing through the doors, in accord with other conditions (See Below).

In both photos the door’s defining characteristics are clear. The door bears the inverted cross of St. Peter (tradition tells he was crucified upside down) ornamented with keys, a symbol of papal authority. The art on the doors were designed by Robert C. Koepnick, a Dayton, Ohio native.

It was during the episcopacy of Archbishop Alter that St. Peter in Chains underwent massive restoration and eventually rededication as the archdiocese’s cathedral. From 1938 through most of 1957, St. Monica in Clifton held the archbishop’s seat.

A door of the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains in Cincinnati that will serve as a holy door during the Year of Mercy is shown sealed in November of 2015. (CT Photo/John Stegeman)
A door of the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains in Cincinnati that will serve as a holy door during the Year of Mercy is shown sealed in November of 2015. (CT Photo/John Stegeman)

Bishop Issenmann is holding blueprints in the photo. In late March of 1957, St. Peter in Chains was still an active work site with the final touches of the restoration still being applied. The church was rededicated as Cathedral in November of that year.

Before becoming a bishop, then-Father Issenmann served a tenure as editor of The Catholic Telegraph.

A note on indulgences
Pope Francis laid out the necessary steps to the Year of Mercy indulgence in a letter to Archbishop Rino Fisichella in September 2015. For his full letter, CLICK HERE. For more on indulgences, see below.

According to the Vatican’s website, “to gain indulgences, whether plenary or partial, it is necessary that the faithful be in the state of grace at least at the time the indulgenced work is completed,” and, “a plenary indulgence can be gained only once a day.”

The site goes on, “In order to obtain it, the faithful must, in addition to being in the state of grace:
— have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin;
— have sacramentally confessed their sins;
— receive the Holy Eucharist (it is certainly better to receive it while participating in Holy Mass, but for the indulgence only Holy Communion is required);
— pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.

For the full list of general conditions related to indulgences, CLICK HERE.

 

Welcome to The Catholic Telegraph’s edition of Throwback Thursday. Throwback Thursday is a weekly online feature wherein users of social media share an old photo or anecdote about times gone by. We use Throwback Thursday to highlight the history of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and our publication.

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