Pilgrimage OC Sites

View Pilgrimage Guides Below


The Year of Mercy will begin on the Third Sunday of Advent with the ritual “opening” of the Holy Door. There are two locations in the Diocese of Orange  where a holy door may be found; Holy Family Cathedral and  Mission Basilica in San Juan Capistrano.

A holy door or porta sancta has been used since the fifteenth century as a ritual expression of conversion. Pilgrims and penitents pass through it as a gesture of leaving the past behind and crossing the threshold from sin to grace, from slavery to freedom, and from darkness to light. Often these rituals are associated with prayer, pilgrimage, sacrifice, confession, and indulgences.

But the door finds meaning only when the believer associates the door with Christ.

Jesus is the Door!

In the words of Pope Francis, “There is only one way that opens wide the entrance into the life of communion with God: this is Jesus, the one and absolute way to salvation. To Him alone can the words of the Psalmist be applied in full truth: ‘This is the door of the Lord where the just may enter’ (Ps 118:20).” Saint John Paul II offers a similar exhortation: “To focus on the door is to recall the responsibility of every believer to cross its threshold. To pass through that door means to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord; it is to strengthen faith in Him in order to live the new life which He has given us. It is a decision which presumes freedom to choose and also the courage to leave something behind, in the knowledge that what is gained is divine life [cf. Mt 13:44-46]” (Saint John Paul II, Incarnationis Mysterium, 8, in the year 2000). John’s gospel clearly depicts this relationship between Jesus and us. “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life, and have it more abundantly” (John 10:7-10).

It is fitting that a Holy Door be situated within a church building. The door of the Church is the ianua ecclesia – “the silent witness to all the moments of our lives” (USCCB, About the Jubilee Door, 1999). Often sacramental rituals begin at the door – here, the priest or deacon welcomes the parents as they bring their child for baptism; here, he greets the bride and groom as they begin the wedding liturgy; here, he greets the catechumens at the Rite of Acceptance; and, finally, the priest greets the casket at the beginning of the funeral liturgy.

Therefore, let us create Holy Doors in our cathedrals or other significant churches which can be worthy symbols of Christ and a welcome invitation to seek Him within our communities of faith.

Fr.Troy Schneider Excerpts from “The Opening of the Holy Door of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000,” an article by Archbishop Piero Marini, Titular Bishop of Martirano and former Papal Master of Liturgical Celebrations. Vatican City, December 1, 1999

Click here for more information about the Holy Doors.


“Life is a journey.”  When we talk about life, relationships and spiritual realities, we often use metaphors to express our experience.

A pilgrimage is a special type of journey – one with a holy purpose.  Pilgrims may travel to historical holy sites in far away locations – or they may be attentive to the holy locations that are nearby.  It’s not how far one travels that makes a journey a pilgrimage.  It is the intention and reflection that we bring to the trip.

The Diocese of Orange has identified two sites for Holy Doors and three additional locations for pilgrimage destinations.  Each of these has a “Pilgrimage Guide” linked at the listing of pilgrimage sites.  These Guides will assist you in your personal pilgrimage.  It is hoped that you will find your journey to be a reflective and prayerful time to connect more deeply with the love and mercy of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  God is our Merciful Father – and this is a time of remembering that truth and receiving it more deeply.


Holy Doors

Holy Family Cathedral
566 S Glassell St, Orange

Mission Basilica
31520 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano

Click Here for Mission Basilica Pilgrimage Guide

Pilgrimage Sites

Our Lady of Guadalupe,  La Habra
900 West La Habra Blvd., La Habra

Click Here for Our Lady of Guadalupe Pilgrimage Guide

St. Joseph, Santa Ana
727 Minter St., Santa Ana

Click Here for St. Joseph Pilgrimage Guide

Christ Cathedral
13280 Chapman Ave., Garden Grove

Tour the Stations of Mercy at Christ Cathedral. Click here to arrange for a tour.

Stations of Mercy at Christ Cathedral – English

Stations of Mercy at Christ Cathedral – Spanish

Stations of Mercy at Christ Cathedral – Vietnamese