Pope urges a prayerful preparation for 2025 Jubilee
By Francesca Merlo
Preparations are beginning within the Church for the upcoming Jubilee year, due to be held in 2025. In a letter addressed to President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, Pope Francis noted that “the Jubilee has always been an event of great spiritual, ecclesial, and social significance in the life of the Church”. He recalled that ever since the year 1300, which marked the first Holy Year, "God’s holy and faithful people has experienced this celebration as a special gift of grace, characterized by the forgiveness of sins and in particular by the indulgence, which is a full expression of the mercy of God".
The first twenty-five years
Pope Francis then recalled “the Great Jubilee of the year 2000”, describing it as having “ushered the Church into the third millennium of her history”. In that regard, he continued, Saint John Paul II had "long-awaited and greatly looked forward to" that event, in the hope that all Christians, putting behind their historical divisions, could celebrate together the two thousandth anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ. "Now, as the first twenty-five years of the new century draw to a close, we are called to enter into a season of preparation that can enable the Christian people to experience the Holy Year in all its pastoral richness", stressed the Pope.
For the vulnerable
In light of the recent Covid-19 pandemic, which left no country unscathed, Pope Francis writes that he has chosen the motto "Pilgrims of Hope", for the Jubilee. He explained that this will indeed be the case if we are capable of "recovering a sense of universal fraternity and refuse to turn a blind eye to the tragedy of rampant poverty that prevents millions of men, women, young people and children from living in a manner worthy of our human dignity". With this in mind, continued the Pope, "I think in particular of the many refugees forced to abandon their native lands".
May the voices of the poor be heard throughout this time of preparation for the Jubilee, said the Pope, explaining that it is "meant to restore access to the fruits of the earth to everyone".
Aspects reflected in society
The Pope then stressed the importance that the spiritual dimension of the Jubilee, "which calls for conversion", also embrace the fundamental aspects of our society, "as part of a coherent whole". He expressed his hope that special consideration also be given to the care for our common home, as "growing numbers of men and women, including many young people and children, have come to realize that care for creation is an essential expression of our faith in God and our obedience to his will".
An entrusted responsibility
Pope Francis then turned his thoughts to Archbishop Finischella, stressing that he "entrusts responsibility for finding suitable ways for the Holy Year to be planned and celebrated with deep faith, lively hope and active charity". Our pilgrimage towards the Jubilee, continued the Pope, will express and confirm the shared journey that the Church is called to make, in order to be ever more fully a sign and instrument of unity in harmonious diversity.
Bringing his discourse to an end, the Pope expressed his desire that in this time of preparation, "we devote 2024, the year preceding the Jubilee event, to a great “symphony” of prayer. Prayer, above all else, concluded the Pope, "to renew our desire to be in the presence of the Lord, to listen to him and to adore him".