(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 01.21.2024).- At the end of the Marian prayer of the Angelus on Sunday, January 21, Pope Francis noted that “The coming months will lead us to the opening of the Holy Door, with which we will begin the Jubilee”. He went on to call for “intensified prayer to prepare ourselves to live well this event of grace and to experience the power of God’s hope.” The Ordinary Jubilee is a particularly important period that the Catholic Church celebrates every 25 years and during which pilgrimages to Rome are intensified, with all the symbolism of crossing the holy doors of the four major basilicas, the Vatican being the main one among them. The Jubilee has its roots in the Old Testament and in Catholic tradition dates back to 1,300, with Boniface VIII, the first Pope to call one.
In this context, Pope Francis declared the “Year of Prayer” begun on that same Sunday, January 21, 2024: “This is why we begin today the Year of Prayer, a year dedicated to rediscovering the great value and absolute necessity of prayer in personal life, in the life of the Church and in the world.” To help us live this period, the Pope said, “We will also be helped by the aids that the Dicastery for Evangelization will make available to us”. The Dicastery for Evangelization has already advanced that a series of books of “Notes on Prayer” will be published (they will be presented on January 23 in the Press Room of the Holy See).
Already in the letter addressed by Pope Francis to the pro-prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization, Monsignor Rino Fischella, the Pope had already referred to this matter:
In this time of preparation, I would greatly desire that we devote 2024, the year preceding the Jubilee event, to a great “symphony” of prayer. Prayer, above all else, to renew our desire to be in the presence of the Lord, to listen to him and to adore him. Prayer, moreover, to thank God for the many gifts of his love for us and to praise his work in creation, which summons everyone to respect it and to take concrete and responsible steps to protect it. Prayer as the expression of a single “heart and soul” (cf. Acts 4:32), which then translates into solidarity and the sharing of our daily bread. Prayer that makes it possible for every man and woman in this world to turn to the one God and to reveal to him what lies hidden in the depths of their heart. Prayer as the royal road to holiness, which enables us to be contemplative even in the midst of activity. In a word, may it be an intense year of prayer in which hearts are opened to receive the outpouring of God’s grace and to make the “Our Father,” the prayer Jesus taught us, the life programme of each of his disciples.
It is foreseeable that the day of the liturgical Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (which this year 2023 will be celebrated on May 9 – or 12 if it is moved to Sunday) will be announced on the day of the opening of the Holy Door with what it implies as start day of the Jubilee. It is customary that on the Solemnity of the Ascension the Popes sign the Bulls proclaiming the Holy Year, indicating in them the beginning day and the ending day.