Pope Francis called on Friday for a “great symphony of prayer” ahead of the Jubilee Year in 2025.
The pope made the appeal in a Feb. 11 letter to Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.
“As is customary, the Bull of Indiction, to be issued in due course, will contain the necessary guidelines for celebrating the Jubilee of 2025,” he wrote.
“In this time of preparation, I would greatly desire that we devote 2024, the year preceding the Jubilee event, to a great ‘symphony’ of prayer.”
In his letter, the pope explained that a Jubilee Year is “an event of great spiritual, ecclesial, and social significance in the life of the Church.”
“Ever since 1300, when Boniface VIII instituted the first Holy Year — initially celebrated every 100 years, then, following its biblical precedent, every 50 years, and finally every 25 years — 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,” he wrote.
There are two kinds of Jubilees: “ordinary,” when they fall after a set period such as 25 years, and “extraordinary,” when they mark notable events.
The celebration in 2025 — the year that marks the 1,700th anniversary of the Council of Nicaea — will be the Catholic Church’s first ordinary jubilee since Pope John Paul II presided over the Great Jubilee of the year 2000. The Jubilee of Mercy overseen by Pope Francis in 2015 was an extraordinary jubilee.
“The Great Jubilee of the year 2000 ushered the Church into the third millennium of her history. St. 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 2,000th anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior of humanity,” Pope Francis wrote.
“Now, as the first 25 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.”
“A significant step on this journey was already taken with the celebration of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, which allowed us to appreciate anew all the power and tenderness of the Father’s merciful love, in order to become, in our turn, its witnesses.”
The 2025 Jubilee will include the opening of the Holy Door in St. Peter’s Basilica. Pilgrims who pass through the door — which is only opened during Jubilee years — can receive a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions.
The 85-year-old pope said he hoped that the 2025 Jubilee would help to restore “a climate of hope and trust” amid the “doubt, fear and disorientation” caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“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,” he wrote.
The Vatican announced in January that the motto of the Jubilee Year will be “Pilgrims of Hope.”
Looking ahead to 2024, the pope said: “In a word, may it be an intense year of prayer in which hearts are opened to receive the outpouring of God’s grace and to make the ‘Our Father,’ the prayer Jesus taught us, the life program of each of his disciples.”