The Great Jubilee
“The whole of the Christian life is like a great pilgrimage to the house of the Father, whose unconditional love for every human creature, and in particular for the ‘prodigal son’, we discover anew each day…. The Jubilee…should encourage everyone to undertake…a journey of conversion.” — Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II opening the Holy Door [L’Osservatore Romano (JPII Shrine Archives)]
Throughout his pontificate, Pope John Paul II guided and prepared the Church to celebrate the Great Jubilee, a celebration of the mercy of God and the forgiveness of sin, which began with the opening of the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica. Eight million pilgrims came to Rome to pray during the Year 2000, as the Church and the whole of humanity passed into the third millennium since the birth of the Redeemer.
During this time, Pope John Paul II prayed for God’s forgiveness and for the forgiveness of those wounded by the sins of Christians throughout the past two millennia.
John Paul II successfully encouraged dialogue with the Jews and inaugurated a time of healing between Jews, Muslims and representatives of other religions. Several times he extended an invitation for these groups to participate in worldwide meetings to pray for peace.
With the Year of the Redemption, the Marian Year and the Year of the Eucharist, he devoted himself to the spiritual renewal of the Church. He was convinced that the Church would receive courage and refreshment, even in the face of the great trials of humanity experienced in the last century, by drawing near the Heart of Christ in the Eucharist. He stated, “...The gaze of the Church is constantly turned to her Lord, present in the Sacrament of the Altar, in which she discovers the full manifestation of his boundless love” (John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 2003).
The love of Christ, “that love which goes to the end,” proclaimed by St. John Paul II with his entire life, was made increasingly comprehensible to the world as the day of his return to the Father’s House drew near.
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