Pope Francis has pulled shut the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica, formally ending the Holy Year of Mercy he declared to highlight that virtue.

In his homily during Mass in St. Peter's Square, Francis said Sunday that while the year of special prayers and gatherings has ended, people should never close "the doors of reconciliation and pardon."

He says what's important is to know "how to go beyond evil and differences."

The Holy Year, which started on Dec. 8, 2015, drew roughly 20 million pilgrims to Rome, where they passed through the open Holy Door at the Vatican and at other Rome basilicas. Catholics worldwide could also do so in churches closer to home.

Francis' papacy stresses the imperative to work for reconciliation and forgiveness.