Pope proclaims Jubilee: ‘May hope fill our days!’

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At a ceremony in St Peter’s Basilica on Ascension Thursday, Pope Francis solemnly proclaims the upcoming Jubilee Year 2025, consigning the Bull of Indiction – “Spes non confundit. Hope does not disappoint” – to the Archpriests of the Papal Basilicas and representatives of the world’s bishops.

By Christopher Wells

“Hope” is the overarching theme of the upcoming Ordinary Jubilee of 2025, a theme reflected in the opening words of the Bull of Indiction, entitled “Spes non confundit. Hope does not disappoint.”

Long passages of the Bull were read out ahead of Vespers on Ascension Thursday, during a ceremony in which the document was solemnly consigned to the Archpriests of the four Papal Basilicas, the Pro-Prefects of the Dicastery for Evangelization, and representatives of the world’s Bishops.

Solemn opening of the Holy Doors 

In Spes non confundit, Pope Francis announces that the Jubilee Year will begin with the opening of the Holy Door of St Peter’s Basilica on Christmas Eve, 2024.

Later, on 29 December, the Pope will open the Holy Door of the Archbasilica of St John Lateran, the Cathedral of Rome. On the same day, every Cathedral and co-Cathedral throughout the world will have Mass celebrated by the local Bishop to mark the opening of the Jubilee.

On the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, 1 January 2025, Pope Francis will open the Holy Door for the Basilica of St Mary Major, with the Holy Door for the Basilica of St Paul’s Outside the Walls being opened on Sunday, 5 January, the Vigil of Epiphany.

“In the course of the year,” Pope Francis writes, “every effort should be made to enable the People of God to participate fully in its proclamation of hope in God’s grace and in the signs that attest to their efficacy.”

The Jubilee will end in the particular Churches throughout the world on 28 December 2025, with the Holy Doors of St John Lateran, St Mary Major, and St Paul’s Outside the Walls being closed on that same date.

And finally, the Jubilee Year will draw to a close in Rome on the Solemnity of Epiphany, 6 January 2026.

An opportunity to be renewed in hope

“Everyone knows what it is to hope,” the Pope wrote in the introduction to the Bull. “In the heart of each person, hope dwells as the desire and expectation of good things to come, despite our not knowing what the future will bring.”

Expressing his desire that the Jubilee might be “an opportunity for us to be renewed in hope, Pope Francis recalled that pilgrimage is “a fundamental event of every Jubilee event,” traditionally associated with the human quest for the meaning of life. The artistic masterpieces and the beauty of creation we see on our journey inspire us to praise and thank God for His wondrous works.

In particular, he invited all the particular churches throughout the world to prepare priests and the faithful for Sacramental Confession, which should be readily available throughout the year.

In a special way, Pope Francis invited the the faithful of the Eastern Churches, especially those already in union with the Successor of Peter, to take part in the Jubilee, and to feel welcome in the city of Rome, noting how many are already “enduring their own way of the Cross,” forced to leave their lands by violence and instability.

The light of Christian hope

The Holy Father prayed, too, that during the Holy Year, “the light of Christian hope might illumine every man and woman, as a message of God’s love addressed to all,” and that “the Church might bear faithful witness to this message in every part of the world.”

Reading the “signs of the times,” Pope Francis noted the desire for peace in a world increasingly marked by violence and conflict, and the loss of a desire to have children, with many countries facing a “demographic winter.” He called for a social covenant to support and foster hope.

The Pope appealed especially for prisoners, recalling the tradition of offering amnesty or pardons during Jubilees, and said he hopes to personally open a Holy Door in a prison, “as a sign inviting prisoners to look to the future with hope and a renewed sense of confidence.” And he called for prisoners to be treated in accord with their rights and dignity, while once again pleading for the abolition of the death penalty.

The Bull continues with Pope Francis urging that hope be offered to the sick, to the young and to the elderly – especially grandparents, to migrants and to the poor.

The Holy Father recalled that the fruits of the earth are intended for all, and encouraged everyone to come to the assistance of the poor. In particular, he called on richer nations to forgive the debts of countries that will never be able to repay them.

Recalling that 2025 is the 1700th anniversary of the First Ecumenical Council, Pope Francis urged expressions of synodality, and renewed efforts to further Christian unity. He appealed especially for progress to be made toward a common celebration of Easter, noting that in 2025, providentially, all Christians will celebrate the Paschal mystery on the same date.

A Holy Year marked by hope

Pope Francis insisted that Christian hope, rooted in Christ’s death and resurrection for each human person, points to our final destiny, eternal happiness with God in heaven. We are saved by God’s mercy, seen especially in the gift of indulgences: While Confession washes away our sins, indulgences – including the Jubilee Indulgence – remove the effects of sins forgiven in the Sacrament. In the Bull of Indiction, the Pope notes that the specific conditions for receiving the indulgence will be published soon.

The Holy Father concludes the Bull with a final note of hope, praying that “the coming Jubilee will be a Holy Year marked by the hope that does not fade, our hope in God”; and that it might help us recover “the confident trust we require in the Church and in society, in our interpersonal relationships, in international relations, and in our task of promoting the dignity of all persons and respect for God’s gift of creation.”

“Let us even now be drawn to this hope!”

Spes non confundit ends with Pope Francis exclaiming, “Let us even now be drawn to this hope!” He calls on Christians to live a life in keeping with their faith, as a witness and an invitation to all to “hope in the Lord.”   

“May the power of hope fill our days,” the Pope says, “as we await with confidence the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and glory, now and forever.”

Post expires on July 12th, 2024

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