The 2015 Jubilee is around the corner. Yesterday’s ceremony in St. Peter’s reminds us that The Year of Mercy is really about to start.
Yesterday afternoon St. Peter’s was closed to the public. Some thought there was a bomb alarm, but it was not true. The Recognitio ceremony was about to begin. The Holy Door was unsealed and workers took out the metal box left inside the wall covering it. The door’s key and documents about the last Jubilee left by John Paul II on January 6, 2001 were found inside. Everything is ready for the 2015-16 Jubilee Year of Mercy!
But before it is officially inaugurated, there could be a surprise. The Pope will visit Central Africa at the end of the month and during this trip he could open and go through the Holy Door of the Bangui Cathedral, in the Central African Republic, to mark how much the Church cares about war-afflicted people.
Let’s see the Rome calendar.
On December 8 in St. Peter’s the opening mass will be held at 9:30 am and the door should be opened at around 11am. In the afternoon the Pope is scheduled, as usual, to visit the statue of the Virgin Mary near the Spanish Steps.
The following Sunday, December 13, the Holy Doors in St John Lateran and St. Paul Outside the Walls will also be opened.
On January 1st it will the turn of the fourth Papal Basilica of Rome, St Mary Major. Why so late? Because that day celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God and it’s a great way to start the New Year.
In Rome, in addition to the four Papal Basilicas, there will be three other Jubilee Churches. They are Saint Lawrence Outside the Walls (San Lorenzo fuori le Mura), The Church of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem (Santa Croce in Gerusalemme), and Saint Sebastian Outside the Walls (San Sebastiano fuori le Mura). These churches, with the four Papal Basilicas, make up the traditional Seven Church Walk.
About 20-25 million pilgrims are expected to go to Rome for the Jubilee. Therefore you need to book your visit to St. Peter’s Holy Door.
You can do it here.
It is also possible to reserve a time for your pilgrimage, choosing the desired day and giving your preference for morning (7am – 1pm) or afternoon (1:30pm – 5pm).
Before confirming the reservation, you will need to verify the availability of the date you would like. On certain days, the Pilgrimage through the Holy Door will be available only to those participating in other scheduled events, namely the General Audiences on Wednesdays, the Jubilee Audiences on Saturdays (one per month), the Major Jubilee events, and other celebrations with the Holy Father.
A Door of Mercy will be opened in every world’s diocese. These doors, analogous to the Holy Doors of the Papal Basilicas in Rome, will permit even people who cannot travel to Rome to make a Jubilee pilgrimage and get their indulgence.
In the Jubilee of the year 2000 it was already possible to obtain it by following the Jubilee’s ceremonies via radio and tv. Well, in the year 1450 you could actually buy the indulgence! But those were very weird years, which also explains why some Northern-Europeans broke up with Rome and set up their own Christian movements.
And you had bullfights in St. Peter’s square in the Jubilee of 1500 under the controversial Borgia Pope, which were then moved to the Colosseum and suspended only for the 1675 Jubilee.