VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Preparations for the Holy Year 2025 have already started and Pope Francis has asked the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization to take over the efforts.
In a brief note on December 26, the Vatican press office said that Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the pontifical council, has already had meetings with officials of the Vatican Secretariat of State and with the offices that will be involved in the financing of the activities of the Holy Year: the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See and Secretariat for the Economy.
A holy or jubilee year is a time of pilgrimage, prayer, repentance and acts of mercy, based on the Old Testament tradition of a jubilee year of rest, forgiveness and renewal. The Holy Years are also a time when Catholics visit designated churches and shrines, say special prayers, go to confession, and receive Communion to receive a plenary indulgence, which is a remission of the temporal punishment due for their sins.
Pope Boniface VIII proclaimed the first holy year in 1300 and decreed that they would be celebrated every 100 years. But barely 50 years later, on a more biblical cadence, Pope Clement VI proclaimed another holy year. Pope Urban VI believed that the holy years should be celebrated every 33 years to remember the time of Jesus.
Finally, in 1470, Pope Paul II instituted the celebrations every 25 years, which has been the practice ever since. However, special anniversaries called for special holy years, for example, in 1933 to mark the 1,900th anniversary of Jesus’ death and resurrection and in 1983 to mark the 1,950th anniversary.
Pope Francis, seeing the need to emphasize God’s mercy and encourage Catholics to return to the sacrament of reconciliation, declared an extraordinary year of mercy, which took place in 2015-16.
For the Year of Mercy, and traditionally for Holy Years, the celebrations begin with the opening by the Pope of the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica on Christmas Eve and end with the sealing of the door one year later.
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