The Holy Door will become a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instils hope. – Pope Francis
The Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, began on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (8th December 2015 and continues to the Feast of Christ the King on 20th November 2016.
Like other previous jubilees, it will be a special, holy year of remission of sins and universal pardon, in this occasion focusing particularly on God’s forgiveness and mercy. It is an extraordinary Jubilee because it had not been predetermined long before; usually ordinary jubilees take place every 25 years. In fact, the 2016 Jubilee was first announced by Pope Francis on 13 March, 2015. It is the 27th Holy Year in history, following the ordinary 2000 Jubilee during John Paul II papacy. The opening day was also the fiftieth anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council.
In prior months it was stressed that the Pontiff wishes the Jubilee to be celebrated not only in Rome but in all local churches around the world: for the first time holy doors will be open in single dioceses, either in the main cathedral or in local historical churches. It was also announced that all priests will be allowed to grant absolution for abortion, which outside North America, is reserved to bishops.
The Jubilee of Mercy was formally declared through the papal bull Misericordiæ Vultus, issued on April 11, 2015, which emphasizes the importance of mercy and the need to “gaze” on it; the bull also recalls the need for the Church to be more open, keeping alive the spirit of the Second Vatican Council.
The official logo, designed by Father Marko I. Rupnik, shows Jesus, personification of Mercy, carrying on his shoulders a “lost man”, emphasizing how deep the Saviour touches humanity; His eyes are merged with those of the carried man. The background is filled by three concentric ovals, with lighter colours outwards, meaning that Jesus is carrying the man out of the darkness of sin. On one side the image is also joined by the official motto: Misericordes Sicut Pater (Merciful Like the Father), derivative from Luke 6:36, which stands as an invitation to follow the example of the Father by loving and forgiving without limits.
The following main events and days of celebration in Rome are scheduled:
- December 8, 2015: opening of the Holy Door in St. Peter’s Basilica
- December 13, 2015: opening of the Holy Door in the Archbasilica of St John Lateran and in other cathedrals around the world
- January 1, 2016: opening of the Holy Door in the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
- January 19-21, 2016: Jubilee for the pilgrims
- January 25, 2016: opening of the Holy Door in the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls
- February 2, 2016: Jubilee for consecrated lifes, closing of the “Year for Consecrated Life”
- February 22, 2016: Jubilee for the Roman Curia
- March 4-5, 2016: penitential liturgy and call for “24 Hours for the Lord”
- March 20, 2016: Palm Sunday
- April 3, 2016: Jubilee for all those who finds themselfes in the spirituality of mercy
- April 24, 2016: Jubilee for newly confirmed aged 13-16 (to older young people is dedicated the World Youth Day in July)
- May 27-29, 2016: Jubilee for deacons
- June 3, 2016: Jubilee for priests
- June 12, 2016: Jubilee for sick people and those who assist them
- July 26-31, 2016: Jubilee for young people and World Youth Day 2016 in Kraków, Poland
- September 4, 2016: Jubilee for volunteers
- September 25, 2016: Jubilee for catechists
- October 8-9, 2016: Marian Jubilee
- November 6, 2016: Jubilee for prisoners; some prisoners will attend celebrations in St. Peter’s Basilica
- November 13, 2016: closing of Holy Doors outside St Peter’s Basilica
- November 20, 2016: closing of the Holy Door in St Peter’s Basilica