Christians have always made pilgrimages to holy places to seek an encounter with the face of Christ, to deepen their faith, and to embrace into their own lives the merciful reconciliation which Jesus offers each of us as pilgrims. In Jubilee Years, many of us will recall the opportunity to pass through a Holy Door, in Rome, or in the local Cathedral, and in more recent times in Walsingham too. Pilgrimage is an important part of a Jubilee Year. Holy doors remind us of Jesus’ words in the Gospel, ‘I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.’

As we journey towards the Jubilee Year 2025, I encourage you, as individuals, families, parishes, groups of parishes, dioceses, and Catholic organisations to make a special pilgrimage to Walsingham in the footsteps of kings, saints, and holy people of times gone by to deepen your faith and reliance on our Lord Jesus Christ.

Fr Robert Billing,
Rector of the Catholic National Shrine and Basilica of Our Lady, Walsingham

 

For more information on groups coming to Walsingham for the Jubilee Year email: pilgrimage@walsingham.org.uk or telephone: [01328] 800983

 

What is a Jubilee?

2025 will be a holy year of Jubilee for Catholics throughout the world, something which usually happens every 25 years. The theme of the Jubilee Year is “Pilgrims of Hope”, and it will be a year of hope for a world suffering from the effects and impact of war and conflict. Pope Francis has written that it will be time to re-establish a proper relationship with God, with one another, and with all of creation.

Quoting the prophet Isaiah, the Gospel of Luke describes Jesus’ mission in this way:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord,” (Luke 4:18-19; cf. Isaiah 61:1-2).

Our Lord Jesus lives out these words in his daily life, in his encounters with others and in his relationships, all of which bring about liberation and conversion.

 

History of the Jubilee Years

In 1300, Pope Boniface VIII called the first Jubilee, also known as a “Holy Year,” since it is a time in which God’s holiness transforms us. The frequency of Holy Years has changed over time: at first, they were celebrated every 100 years; later, in 1343 Pope Clement VI reduced the gap between Jubilees to every 50 years, and in 1470 Pope Paul II made it every 25 years. There have also been “extraordinary” Holy Years: for example, in 1933 Pope Pius XI chose to commemorate the 1900th anniversary of the Redemption, and in 2015 Pope Francis proclaimed the Year of Mercy as an extraordinary jubilee. The way in which Jubilee Years are marked has also changed through the centuries: originally the Holy Year consisted of a pilgrimage to the Roman Basilicas of St. Peter and St. Paul, later other signs were added, such as the Holy Door. By participating in the Holy Year, one is granted a plenary indulgence.

 

Constitutions of the Second Vatican Council

As part of the preparation for the Jubilee Year, the Pope asked that Catholics explore the four Constitutions of the Second Council: Sacrosanctum Concilium – the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Lumen Gentium – Light of the Nations, Dei Verbum Word of God, Gaudium et Spes – the Church in the Modern World.

 

2024 – A Year of Prayer

Preparations for the 2025 Holy Year of Jubilee intensified in Advent 2023, with the inauguration of a Year of Prayer for 2024.

Our Shrine is already participating in this Year of Prayer in that the Pope’s Jubilee Prayer is now publicly prayed each afternoon at the beginning of Shrine’s daily afternoon devotions, and that the daily afternoon period of adoration and devotions at the Shrine is dedicated to this year of Jubilee preparation.

 

Hymn for the 2025 Jubilee Year

The Jubilee Year, which in itself is expressed as an event of people on pilgrimage to the Holy Door, will also use song as one of the ways of expressing its motto, “Pilgrims of Hope”. The official hymn for the Jubilee Year is charged with the hope of the pilgrim Church being freed and supported as they journey on pilgrimage. It is a hymn imbued with the hope that it will reach the ears of the One from whom all things flow:

 

Listen to the Official Hymn for the 2025 Jubilee here: