Jubilee in Rome? Send flowers!

A Jubilee is an old tradition among Catholics and the Holy Church. The tradition was started in the year 300 by Pope Boniface VII, and celebrates a year of forgiveness and plenary indulgence by the Church.

The tradition is that a Jubilee is celebrated every 25 – 50 years, but in times of stress and change that schedule has been changed before.

The last Jubilee, known as the Great Jubilee, was held on schedule in the year 2000, but there was also one held in 1983 to celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection.

The Jubilee does not follow the calendar exactly – for instance, this year it will start on December the 8th during the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The Year of Jubilee will run from December 8 2015 to December 20 of 2016.

This is a time of joy to Catholics across the world, and since it does not come during the regular schedule of these events this is known as an extraordinary Jubilee. The purpose of this Jubilee is to bring a message of compassion and pardon. The name given to this extraordinary Jubilee is The Holy Year of Mercy.

Pope Francis has shared a message of hope and mercy consistently since being named, and the Jubilee of the Holy Year of Mercy continues the trend set forth by the Pope over the last few years.

The Jubilee also marks a special time for Catholics around the world, but perhaps especially in Rome where the sense of history is palpable. It is hard not be when you are in a city and a country where buildings dating back to the ancient times abound, and where history is linked in such a solid way to the modern life and times of Rome and Italy.

Celebrations will be an ongoing tradition, both in the Church and in families – after all, events that only occur every 25 – 50 years are by definition special events. An Extraordinary Jubilee does not happen often, and should be marked by a procession of festivities. Continue reading “Jubilee in Rome? Send flowers!”