Another holy year dawns on the eternal city in a touching celebration of forgiveness, under the banner of hope and trust
The next Jubilee will be in 2025 and there is great expectation among the faithful all over the world. It is the second with Pope Francis, after the extraordinary one 10 years ago. Pilgrims of hope is the motto the pontiff adopted for the 2025 Jubilee, with the desire to revive the spirit and sense of community of Catholics and others around the world, after difficult years of suffering, hardship and isolation.
The Jubilee is a year of special grace, in which the Catholic Church offers the possibility to ask for a plenary indulgence, i.e. the forgiveness of sins for oneself or one’s deceased family members. Plus, it is an opportunity to reconnect with one’s faith and with others in a spiritual celebration of reconciliation.
The Jubilee runs from just before Christian Christmas to the Epiphany, that is, from December 2024 to January 2026. This spectacular event, though inexorably appreciated by Christians all over the world, is a unique occasion to visit Rome even for secular-minded observers.
In fact, for the event, the city will renew and embellish itself (and yes you can make it even more magnificent!). The mayor of Rome proclaimed 32 redevelopment and improvement projects, a further 23 related to accessibility and mobility, 8 dedicated to hospitality and participation and 24 to the environment. The following interventions are envisaged: extraordinary maintenance work on the Jubilee sites and public space in the city, in both central and peripheral areas; enhancement of mobility infrastructures; increase in facilities for the reception of pilgrims and citizens and organisation of major events linked to the Holy Year devoted to meeting and participation; activities for the care of the natural landscapes, with particular attention to the city’s waterways and greenways; and finally, the redevelopment and restoration of the city’s cultural and urban heritage, with a focus on complexes of historical-architectural value as well as parks, gardens, villas and fountains.
But to return to the more spiritual aspect of the matter, the Jubilee of 2025 will be dedicated to ‘hope and trust’ (hence the pilgrims of hope motto) as Pope Francis emphasised. It will be an event of rebirth, in a world devastated by the pandemic, wars and climate crises. With these messages, the pontiff will open wide the Holy Door of St. Peter’s to offer approximately 1.3 billion Catholics the opportunity to come together in faith.
The opening of the Holy Doors in four majestic Basilicas
The opening of the Holy Doors is particularly significant as, passing through an open door symbolizes the very essence of transcending from sin to salvation through a holy pathway. The four doors to be opened are those of:
- St Peter’s Basilica
- Archbasilica of St. John Lateran (San Giovanni in Laterano)
- Basilica of St. Paolo Outside the Walls (San Paolo Fuori le Mura)
- Basilica of St Mary Major (Santa Maria Maggiore)
The first door to be opened will be that of St Peter’s Basilica, followed by the other three. St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican State is the largest in the world and is the central venue for expressions of Catholic worship. St John Lateran Basilica is the cathedral of the bishopric of Rome and the most ancient in the Western hemisphere. Located in San Paolo district, the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls is the largest church after St Peter’s in the Vatican. Finally, Santa Maria Maggiore, also known as the Basilica Liberiana, is the only one in the city to have preserved its early Christian structure.
These are four sites of rare majesty, worth visiting regardless of one’s religious inclination. Their holy doors will remain open and welcoming until the end of the Jubilee when they will be walled up again.
2025 will be a wonderful year for Rome and for being in Rome, the city will be filled with new faces, new ideas, new cultures and energies from all over the world, united by an everlasting love for God, the world and existence at large.