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Behind Vatican Walls: The Making of a Jubilee

Salt + Light Media

Friday, December 4, 2015

The event Pope Francis has been waiting for since his pontificate started will finally kick off December 8. The Jubilee Year of Mercy officially begins on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception with the opening of the Holy Door at the St. Peter’s Basilica, though the jubilee is already in full swing in Bangui, Central African Republic. Make no mistake, this will not be a year of lovely photo ops. Pope Francis is serious about acquainting people around the world with God’s mercy and he has an action plan in place.
The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization is overseeing the Holy See’s activities for the Jubilee. Expect to see more Jubilee initiatives rolled out than ever before. At the same time expect participation to be more formalized. Unlike the last Jubilee Year pilgrims will need to register to walk through the Holy Door. However, pilgrims will receive a certificate, called a “testimonium” from the Jubilee pilgrims office.
To help pilgrim takes part in the various jubilee events that will happen at the Vatican the Council for the New Evangelization opened an office this week on Via Della Conciliazione, the avenue leading up to the Vatican, to welcome Jubilee pilgrims. There pilgrims can register to go through the Holy Door, sign up for tickets to special Masses and prayer services, get the typical Vatican-visitor information, and find a series of books of different themes related to the Jubilee Year. Note: tickets for all Papal Masses and liturgies are always free.
Here are some things you can expect to see as the Jubilee for Mercy begins:
December 8
  • Pope Francis will open the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica in a simple ceremony followed by a Mass
  • In the evening a light and sound show called Fiat Lux, inspired by the encyclical “Laudato Si” will be projected onto the facade of the basilica
December 13
  • Doors of Mercy will be opened in cathedrals around the world
  • Pope Francis will open the Holy Door at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the cathedral of Rome
December 18
  • Pope Francis will open a Holy Door at the Don Luigi di Liegro Hostel at Rome’s Termini train station. This is the first of a series of outreach activities Pope Francis will do every Friday during the Jubilee Year.
  • Throughout the year the rosary will be recited every evening at St. Peter’s Square. Local parishes dedicated to Our Lady will take turns leading the rosary. Faithful who want to pray the rosary can meet at the statue of St. Peter in the square.
  • Once a month Pope Francis will hold an extra General Audience on a Saturday
  • 800 priests will commissioned and sent out to different parts of the world as Missionaries of Mercy. Their role is specifically to help hear confessions. They will be given authority to absolve sins normally reserved for the Holy See.
Of course dioceses around the world are rolling out their own initiatives for the Jubilee Year. If you cannot travel to Rome this year, check with your diocese for upcoming special events and resources.
CNS photo/Paul Haring
This week's episode of Vatican Connections will be available here shortly.

Every week brings new, exciting, and sometimes juicy headlines from behind Vatican walls and every week Alicia delves deeper into one of those headlines. For a full run down of what’s been happening behind Vatican walls, watch Vatican Connections. Already watch the program? Come back every Friday for an in-depth look at an issue, headline or person. Season 4 of Vatican Connections airs every Friday at 8:00 pm ET.

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