VATICAN CITY, JAN. 7, 2001 (ZENIT.org).- At 2:30 a.m. on January 6, Immacolata Staltari became the last pilgrim to cross the Holy Door during the Jubilee of the Year 2000.
The 35-year old Italian woman, who works as a cleaner in Zagarolo, near Rome, did not sleep that night to be able to cross the Door of St. Peter´s Basilica in the Vatican.
A few hours later, at 9:47 a.m. to be precise, John Paul II closed the Holy Door´s panels, bringing to a close the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.
After seeing the number of pilgrims who arrived between January 4 and 5 and hoped to cross the Holy Door (some waited up to 4 hours), John Paul II ordered that all the faithful be allowed to pass through the Door, even if it meant that St. Peter´s Basilica had to stay open all night.
The Pope´s decision made it possible for 200,000 “late” pilgrims, mainly Italians, to cross the Holy Door on the last day of the Jubilee.
Some people slept in their cars or on the streets near the Vatican on the night of January 4-5, to be sure to be able to cross the Door in the early hours of the last day of its opening.
The last one to arrive was Immacolata Staltari, who told ZENIT: “It was a feeling that is impossible to describe. I was thinking of the children: my son, Maruzio, 9 years old, who has spent 2 months in the hospital since July because of a congenital ailment. I also thought of Christian, a friend he met in hospital, 3 years old, who had a tumor operation on January 4. The operation was a total success.”
Immacolata Staltari now has a wish: to visit the Pope with her children to thank him for having upset all the organizers´ plans and extended the period that the Holy Door remained open.