The program, itineraries, the official hymn and more … In Rome, preparations for the Jubilee of 2025 are in full swing, as an estimated 32 million pilgrims are expected to participate. A progress report on this large-scale event, organized by the Dicastery for Evangelization, was presented on May 9, 2023, at the Vatican.
For several months, four commissions – pastoral, cultural, communication, and ecumenical – and a technical committee have been working on the organization of the Jubilee. A coordination meeting is held every two weeks at Palazzo Chigi, seat of the Italian government, said Archbishop Rino Fisichella, pro-prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization.
The Jubilee itineraries
Registrations will be opened in September on the official website, which will be available in nine languages, announced Monsignor Graham Bell, undersecretary of the Dicastery for Evangelization.
The pilgrims will receive a digital map that will allow them to access Jubilee events and organize their pilgrimage to the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica.
The “Pilgrim’s Card,” which can be purchased for “a few euros” will provide discounts for food and other necessities, explained Archbishop Fisichella.
Three pilgrimage itineraries are proposed for this Jubilee: the traditional 25 km (around 15.5 miles) pilgrimage of the seven churches of Rome; a pilgrimage dedicated to the women patrons and doctors of the Church; and a journey across the “European Union Churches” (Iter Europaeum).
The European itinerary will have an ecumenical aspect, as the Jubilee coincides with the 1700th anniversary of the Council of Nicaea (325), the first Christological council. Thus, the 28 stages of this itinerary include non-Catholic churches in Rome, such as the National Church of Greece, San Teodoro, given to the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate, or the German Lutheran Church. Other churches included, such as San Silvestro, have an ecumenical dimension because they preserve a memory of the Council of Nicea.
Rome under construction
The Faculty of Sociology of Roma Tre University estimates that around 32 million people will participate. However, these are only projections, which are subject to change. All the more so, as the city of Rome has faced a strong increase in tourists in recent months, said Archbishop Fisichella
In this context, the Eternal City has undertaken big construction projects, which will begin in July 2023. In particular, an underpass is to be built between Piazza Pia and Via della Conciliazione leading to St. Peter’s Square – an area that often represents a bottleneck for the influx of tourists from Castel Sant’Angelo. Other areas, such as St. John Lateran, or Piazza del Risorgimento, should become pedestrianized. “We are confident that the major works will be finished by December 8, 2024,” said Archbishop Fisichella.
The Jubilee calendar
The official dates of the opening and closing of the Jubilee will be given on May 9, 2024 – feast of the Ascension – by a Papal Bull of indiction. However, the main events are already known. Several thematic jubilees will take place over the months, including: law enforcement (January); people with disabilities (April); entrepreneurs/musicians (May); the world of sports/political leaders (June); prisoners (July); youth (August); and the world of education (October).
A “Pilgrims’ Center” will open on June 1 in Via della Conciliazione, where participants can get more information.
The Jubilee hymn
The Jubilee hymn was also unveiled. The text, written by theologian and musicologist Pierangelo Sequeri, is based on the official theme “Pilgrims of Hope.” The music of the hymn was composed by Italian musician Francesco Meneghello. He was selected out of 270 composers from 38 countries, who all participated in the international competition, which ended on March 25.
As part of the preparations for the Jubilee, cultural events will be launched in September 2023, including an exhibition of works by Greek artist El Greco (1541-1614) in the church of Sant’Agnese in Agone, in Piazza Navona. The works featured have never left Spain before. The cultural committee also intends to organize initiatives in prisons and hospitals.
For the spiritual orientation of the preparations, Pope Francis has asked that the year 2023 be dedicated to the four constitutions of the Second Vatican Council – the texts of which were recently republished by Shalom Editions – and that 2024 be dedicated to prayer.
While Rome will be the epicenter, this Jubilee will also be spread throughout the dioceses of the world. Some 200 delegates from Italian dioceses and 90 delegates from episcopal conferences will work in conjunction with the organizing Dicastery.