A guide to the key words of the extraordinary Holy Year announced by Pope Francis



Although Rome is the key location, it is not the only place where the Jubilee can be fully experienced:  in order to give everyone the possibility of being exposed to the Holy Year, for the first time in history, Pope Francis has wanted a Holy Door in the cathedral of every dioceses in the world and has given the bishops the power to indicate other sacred places or special churches that can be equipped for the Jubilee with a local calendar.

The organization of the Jubilee has been entrusted to the Pontifical Council for the promotion of the New Evangelization.  The structure, presided over by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, was created by Benedict XVI in 2010 and is capable of aptly responding to the challenges of secularization. A task force of about twenty religious and lay members is working for the Holy Year.

Since 1200, the year in which Pope Boniface VIII created the first Jubilee, the universal Jubilee appointment was held every 25 or 50 years.  On the other hand, the one announced by Francis is the third extraordinary Jubilee since the beginning of the twentieth century:  in 1933 Pius XI announced a Holy Year for the 19 centuries since the death of Christ, an event to which John Paul II also connected the extraordinary appointment of fifty years later. By surprise, Francis announced the Holy Year of Mercy on March 13, 2015, on the second anniversary of his election on the throne of Saint Peter’s, with a notice of only 270 days. In the past, other Jubilees were announced during the centuries with a local value or with reference to special events, but without opening the holy doors:  for example, Paul VI wanted to hold a Jubilee after the closing of the Second Vatican Council.

Is the expression with which the Church shows “remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven” and it can also be obtained for the deceased. For this Jubilee,  Pope Francis has arranged that forgiveness also be granted to those who request it “with sincere repentance”, for the most serious sins, including abortion, which for the Church is equal to refusing life.  The classic condition for obtaining indulgence is a pilgrimage to a Holy Door with confession and communion, reciting the “Creed” and the prayer for the intentions of the Pope. But Bergoglio has stressed that in order to obtain “thorough and complete forgiveness” it is necessary to carry out acts of charity towards foreigners and the poor.

Is the theme chosen by the Pope for the Holy Year.  Bergoglio’s Episcopal  motto “Miserando atque eligendo” (he looked at him with mercy and chose him) reveals just how much the Jubilee is tied to the charisma of the Argentine Pope.  Francis has also wanted to arrange “Missionaries of Mercy” to send among the people in their everyday lives, in order to facilitate access to indulgence.  They are volunteer priests or emeritus bishops who have applied to the Pontifical Council for the promotion of the New Evangelization, and have received approval.

Is one of the most popular events of the Jubilee:  the remains of Father Pius, the saint of Pietralcina, are moved from San Giovanni Rotondo and exhibited in the Vatican from February 8th to the 14th for the Ash Wednesday event, the day on which Pope Francis will confer the mandate of confessors to the Missionaries of Mercy.  The body of Saint Leopold Mandic, another Capuchin, will also be brought to Saint Peter’s together with Father Pius:  Bergoglio has chosen them as symbols of the sacrament of confession.

The four historic doors are tied to the Roman Papal basilicas: besides Saint Peter’s, there are St. John in the Lateran, St. Paul, and St. Mary Major. Pope Francis has introduced the novelty of diocesan holy doors.  And the other Holy Doors will be found far from places of worship.  Bergoglio has decided to inaugurate the door of the Caritas of Rome; the hostel for the poor, while in Lampedusa Cardinal Montenegro will open the “holy door” for the migrants, close to the place where the massacre of Lampedusa took place.

For the Holy Year, Pope Francis has decided to include a series of twelve extraordinary Jubilee audiences to be held on Saturday,  aside from the Wednesday appointment, with the general audience of the Pope in Saint Peter’s square or in the Paul VI Audience Hall, which is repeated every week, except for a short break in the summer.

They are volunteer worshipers who are at least 18 years old and come from all over the world to assist the pilgrims in Rome.  They are not paid, but the Vatican gives them room, board and insurance.  For the Jubilee in 2000, about seventy thousand volunteers arrived.

Historically, during the jubilees, the pilgrims would walk towards the Holy Door.  In Rome 4 pedestrian paths have been arranged to reach Saint Peter’s, with a series of stops in which “spiritual assistance” is also provided.  The historic Via Francigena has been regenerated, which crosses Europe from Canterbury to the Vatican, other paths are organized from Assisi.  167 thousand official beds have been made available in Rome for accommodation.


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One response to “A guide to the key words of the extraordinary Holy Year announced by Pope Francis

  1. Check with us at http://www.vaticantoursonline.com how to avoid lines to
    St. Peter’s Basilica and Vatican Museums during Jubilee Year 2016


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