Pope Invites Eastern Catholic Churches to Participate in Jubilee Year

May 26, 2024, 14:33 83

In a special Bull on the occasion of the proclamation of the Ordinary Jubilee of 2025, His Holiness Pope Francis called on the Eastern Catholic Churches to “feel especially welcome in Rome.” The Bull, “Hope Does Not Disappoint,” was published in the Vatican on May 9 with the main message of the Jubilee Year, “An opportunity for everyone to be renewed in hope.”

Pope Invites Eastern Catholic Churches to Participate in Jubilee Year
St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican

The Pope made a special appeal to the Eastern Catholic Churches to participate in the Jubilee Year. “I would especially like to invite the faithful of the Eastern Churches to this pilgrimage, especially those who are already in full communion with the Successor of Peter,” the bull reads. “They have suffered greatly, often even unto death, for their fidelity to Christ and the Church, and so they should feel themselves especially welcome in this City of Rome that is also their Mother and cherishes so many memories of their presence. The Catholic Church, enriched by their ancient liturgies and the theology and spirituality of their Fathers, monks and theologians, wants to give symbolic expression to its embrace of them and their Orthodox brothers and sisters in these times when they endure their own Way of the Cross, often forced by violence and instability to leave their homelands, their holy lands, for safer places. For them, the hope born of the knowledge that they are loved by the Church, which does not abandon them but follows them wherever they go, will make the symbolism of the Jubilee all the more powerful.”

In the document, Pope Francis emphasizes that the first sign of hope is “peace for a world that is once again immersed in the tragedy of war.” “Heedless of the tragedies of the past, humanity is facing another ordeal in which so many peoples are oppressed by the brutality of violence,” thus “may the anniversary remind us that those who become ‘peacemakers will be called children of God.’

On the occasion of the Holy Jubilee Year, the Pope invited governments to “undertake initiatives aimed at restoring hope: forms of amnesty or pardon designed to help people regain their faith in themselves and in society; ways of reintegrating into the community, backed by concrete commitments to respect the law.” This appeal is particularly relevant in the context of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, its violation of international law and its brutal detention of hostages.

Pope Francis also mentions refugees and migrants, “who are forced by complex international circumstances to flee wars, violence and discrimination, must be guaranteed security and access to employment and education, and the means to integrate into a new social context.”

As an alternative to war and spending on weapons, the Pope proposes to create a World Fund for the final elimination of hunger and the development of the poorest countries, “so that their inhabitants do not resort to violent or fraudulent resolutions and are not forced to leave their countries in order to seek a more dignified life.”

“May the coming Jubilee be a Holy Year be marked by the hope that does not fade, the hope in God. May it help us to rediscover the confident trust in the Church and in society, in interpersonal relationships, in international relations, in promoting the dignity of every human being and in respect for the created world,” Pope Francis said in his proclamation of the Jubilee Year.

The Jubilee Year is an opportunity for the entire Church to experience God’s grace through intensive prayer activities and events. The Pope has decided to open the Holy Doors of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on December 24, 2024, marking the beginning of the Ordinary Jubilee. The following Sunday, December 29, the Pope will open the Holy Door of St. John Lateran Basilica, which will celebrate the 1700th anniversary of its dedication on November 9. Then, on January 1, 2025, the Holy Doors of the Pontifical Basilica of St. Mary (Santa Maria Maggiore) will be opened during the celebrations in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On Sunday, January 5, the Holy Doors of St. Paul’s Basilica Outside the Walls will be opened. Additionally, on Sunday, December 29, 2024, in all cathedral and procathedral churches, the diocesan bishops will celebrate the Divine Liturgy as the solemn opening of the Jubilee Year. The Jubilee Year will conclude with the closing of the Holy Doors of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on January 6, 2026.

The Jubilee year marks an important anniversary for all Christians — the 1700th anniversary of the First Ecumenical Council, the Council of Nicea. Pope Francis reminds us in the bull that “the Council of Nicea also discussed the date of Easter. To this day, there are different views on this issue, which prevent us from celebrating the event of founding the faith on the same day. Providentially, it will take place in 2025. May it serve as a call to all Christians in the East and West to take a decisive step towards unity around a common date for celebrating Easter.” In regard to the celebration of Easter in the new style in Ukraine, His Beatitude Sviatoslav emphasized the need to convene a General Church Council, “which would encompass not only Western Christianity but also Eastern Christianity,” as this matter cannot be resolved only at the local level.

Secretariat of the UGCC Head in Rome

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