Europe

Pope shuts Holy Door, but urges: Stay open to reconciliation

  • Pope Francis, left, arrives for a Mass on the occasion of the closing of the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. The Holy Door closing marks the end of the Jubilee of Mercy. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

    Pope Francis, left, arrives for a Mass on the occasion of the closing of the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. The Holy Door closing marks the end of the Jubilee of Mercy. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pope Francis, top left, arrives for a Mass on the occasion of the closing of the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. The Holy Door closing marks the end of the Jubilee of Mercy. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

    Pope Francis, top left, arrives for a Mass on the occasion of the closing of the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. The Holy Door closing marks the end of the Jubilee of Mercy. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pope Francis kisses the altar as he celebrates a Mass on the occasion of the closing of the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. The Holy Door closing marks the end of the Jubilee of Mercy. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

    Pope Francis kisses the altar as he celebrates a Mass on the occasion of the closing of the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. The Holy Door closing marks the end of the Jubilee of Mercy. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)  (The Associated Press)

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.