Jubilee 2025: Pope speaks about the 'Pilgrims of hope' against the loneliness of the pandemic
The Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation will organise the Jubilee. In a letter to Archbishop Fisichella, Francis praises the men and women of science who found an “initial remedy” for a return to regular life. He noted that everyone should “have access to scientific breakthroughs and the necessary medicines,” adding that healing from the pandemic needs a “sense of universal fraternity”.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis addressed a letter to Archbishop Rino Fisichella, chairman of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation, in connection with preparations for the 2025 Jubilee year, whose motto is Pilgrims of Hope.
In his missive, the pontiff stressed that at a time in history marked by lonely deaths, lockdowns and restrictions imposed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, “We must fan the flame of hope that has been given [to] us, and help everyone to gain new strength and certainty by looking to the future with an open spirit, a trusting heart and far-sighted vision.”
For Francis, “The forthcoming Jubilee can greatly contribute to restoring a climate of hope and trust as a prelude to the renewal and rebirth that we so urgently desire.
In his letter to Archbishop Fisichella, the pope looks at the past two years and the uncertainty and elusiveness of existence that have “changed our very way of life”.
For Christians and their brothers and sisters, life was turned upside down. “Our churches remained closed, as did our schools, factories, offices, shops, and venues for recreation.”
Yet, even at a time of profound bewilderment, there was no lack of hope from men and women of science who “quickly developed an initial remedy that is gradually permitting us to resume our daily lives.”
Thanks to the vaccines and treatments applied so far, we can be “fully confident that the epidemic will be overcome and that the world will return to its usual pattern of personal relationships and social life.”
However, this, he warns, “will happen more readily to the extent that we can demonstrate effective solidarity, so that our neighbours most in need will not be neglected, and that everyone can have access to scientific breakthroughs and the necessary medicines.”
For Francis, the journey of healing from the pandemic also requires the recovery of a “sense of universal fraternity” that refuses “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.”
“I think,” the pope writes, “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”.
In another passage, he notes that the "Latin and Eastern" Churches are called at this time to “intensify their commitment to synodality,” and to this end, he calls for a “shared journey” in order to be “fully a sign and instrument of unity in harmonious diversity.”
“It will be important to foster a renewed awareness of the demands of the universal call to responsible participation by enhancing the charisms and ministries that the Holy Spirit never ceases to bestow for the building up of the one Church.”
In this perspective, the four Constitutions of the Second Vatican Council and the magisterium of the Church remain central in order to continue proclaiming the Gospel.
Historically, the Jubilee has always been an event of great spiritual, ecclesial and social importance since Boniface VIII who declared the first Holy Year in 1300.
In the letter, issued today at Saint John Lateran, Memorial of the Blessed Virgin of Lourdes, Francis noted that the Jubilee is an occasion for forgiveness from sins, as the indulgence represents the “full expression of the mercy of God” and the pilgrimage of millions of faithful to holy places.
This was the case for Saint John Paul II’s Great Jubilee in the year 2000, which “ushered the Church into the third millennium of her history” full of hope “that all Christians, putting behind their historical divisions, could celebrate together the two thousandth anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ”.
The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy in 2016 also made it possible to rediscover “the power and tenderness" of God's love “in order to become, in our turn, its witnesses.”
On the dicastery headed by Archbishop Fisichella falls the task of organising the Holy Year, which must combine a spiritual dimension with social life in order to build “a coherent unity”.
Lastly, the Holy Father turns his thoughts to the environmental issues that are so dear to his heart.
“In the realization that all of us are pilgrims on this earth, which the Lord has charged us to till and keep (cf. Gen 2:15), may we never fail, in the course of our sojourn, to contemplate the beauty of creation and care for our common home.”
Entrusting the Church to Mary, Francis addressed a final invitation to pray and keep to “the royal road to holiness”.