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Cradle Catholic with a lot of questions; such as, why am I just figuring this stuff out now?

January 7, 2011

The best time to go on a holy pilgrimage to Rome

There are many interesting places to visit and things to see on a Holy Pilgrimage.  Rome has many of the popular pilgrim destinations such as the Appian Way, the church Quo Vadis, and the Basilica of St. Paul Without the Walls.  However, if you are planning a Holy Pilgramige when is the best time to go?  During a Holy Year, which is also known as a Year of Jubilee, that is, if you can wait. 

What is a Year of Jubilee?
The Year of Jubilee has roots in the Old Testament.  According to Leviticus 25:10, “Thou shalt sanctify the fiftieth year, and shalt proclaim remission to all the inhabitants of thy land: for it is the year of jubilee." The Year of Jubilee was a designated time of joy and universal pardon.  Because of its Old Testament roots, the Year of Jubilee is recognized by both Jewish and Christian faith.  There has not been continuity between the Jewish and Christian Jubilees, since the celebration of the first Christian Jubilee in the year 1300.  Boniface VIII, who instituted the first Jubilee intended that it should be celebrated only once in a hundred years,

Why wait?
Catholics believe if you make a pilgrimage to the Vatican and Rome during a Holy Year you will be granted remission of sins and universal pardon.  A Holy Year begins with midnight mass on Christmas Eve after the Pope opens a Holy Door in each of the four great basilicas in which the pilgrims are required to visit.  At the end of the year, the door is closed – and bricked up.

When is the next one?
Historically, these have occurred about every twenty-five years, beginning in the year 1300 AD.  However, since the year 1900 there have been eight – the last one being in 2008.  If you do the math that's a lot more frequent than every 25 years.  While the date of the next Holy Year has not been declared, chances are the next one will be held in 2033 at the latest. 

Resources: The Vatican and Other Christian Holy Placesby Victoria Parker


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