JUBILEE 2000 - THE HOLY DOORS
The Jubilee Year 2000 will be a time of great rejoicing. The first celebration took place in 1300 AD and during the time of Boniface VIII it was intended to be celebrated every hundred years. After careful thought, because of the short span of life, it was kept to every fifty years to give the people a chance to experience it in their lifetime. In 1450 it was changed to every twenty five years for this same reason and has continued in this manner until the present time.
Each of the four great basilicas, St Peter's, St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major and St. Paul-without-the-walls have a holy door which is walled up until the Jubilee year when it is ceremonially opened. When the year is over it is again resealed.
The significance of these holy doors is the rite that takes place at the beginning of the Jubilee year at St. Peter's:
"The Pope knocks upon the door three times with a silver hammer, singing the versicle 'Open unto me the gates of justice'. The masonry, which has been loosened beforehand, is made to fall in at the third blow, and, after the threshhold has been swept and washed by the Jubilee penitentiaries, the Pope enters first. Each of the doors at the other basilicas is similarly opened by a cardinal designated for the purpose. The symbolism of this ceremony is probably closely connected with the exclusion of Adam and Eve from Paradise, and the expulsion and reconciliation of penitents..." (Catholic Encyclopedia)
Indulgences are granted to those who, while in Rome, visit the four basilicas during a specific period and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. It is usual to extend these indulgences the following year to the faithful throughout the world by visits to local churches, fasting and works of charity.
On January 3, 1999 pastors blest the doors of their churches with this prayer, "Christ is the Good Shepherd. Christ is the door through which those who followed Him enter and are safe, go in and go out, and find their peace.
At the end of Pope John Paul II visit to St. Louis, he sealed a door at the Basilica of St. Louis so that they may join Rome in this ceremony when Jubilee 2000 begins.
THE JUBILEE LOGO
|The Jubilee year begins on Christmas Eve 1999|
|According to Jewish law, a Jubilee was proclaimed every 50 years|
|The Bible refers to a Jubilee year in the book of Leviticus|
|The circular blue field of the Jubilee logo represents the Universe|
|The five doves in the logo represent the five continents|
|The light which issues from the center of the logo stands for Christ|
|The cross on the logo has many colors|