Mike Miller, a parishioner of St. Anthony’s Parish in Sterling, Colo., was randomly chosen as the winner of a high-quality, framed print of the official Year of Mercy icon for the Archdiocese of Denver, originally painted by iconographer Vivian Imbruglia. Archdiocese chancellor David Uebbing personally delivered the icon to Miller’s home in Atwood, Colo., Jan. 10.
Miller was one of over 250 participants who visited all of the Holy Doors in the archdiocese designated for the Jubilee Year of Mercy and submitted a completed postcard with a stamp from each location.
He didn’t make the pilgrimage alone, however.
Miller’s wife, Carol, fellow parishioner Don Wolfe and St. Anthony’s parochial vicar Father Herman Joseph Nsubuga all went on a pilgrimage together to visit each of the Holy Doors in the archdiocese, from the Cathedral Basilica all the way to St. Stephen’s Parish in Glenwood Springs. Miller and his wife have been parishioners at St. Anthony’s for 15 years, and both he and Wolfe are involved in the parish’s prison ministry, which they conduct at Sterling Correctional Facility.
It was purely coincidental that the winner of the icon happened to be from a parish where there was a Holy Door. Miller recalled many pilgrims coming to visit the Holy Door at St. Anthony’s including a few busloads of people. Miller enjoyed having a Holy Door at his own parish.
“It was nice having the door of mercy here,” he said. “We got to the habit where we went through the [Holy Door] every time we went in.”
He was also struck by how many people avoided the Holy Door at first, but then began to go through the door more as the year progressed. He overheard people say they needed the “extra grace.” Throughout the Year of Mercy, he also witnessed people come back to the sacrament of reconciliation.
Though not immediately apparent, Wolfe observed that the Year of Mercy and the Holy Door did have an effect on the parish and its people.
“I think there is change. I don’t know if we always see with God’s eyes what’s going on to help people,” he said. “How those people are drawn…you don’t know how God’s working.”
Overall, it was a very gratifying experience, they said, and they were greeted warmly at each parish they went to.
“We were instant friends. It was like family, we knew them right away,” Wolfe said. “People made you feel right at home.”