Friday 11 December 2015

Jubilees and Holy Doors

Jewish and Christian traditions hold the Jubilee year to be a time of joy and universal pardon. In Catholicism, Jubilees - or Holy Years - have been designated by popes since 1300. Ordinary jubilees are usually celebrated every 25 or 50 years, with extraordinary jubilees convoked based on need.

Observing the Holy Year includes making a pilgrimage to Rome. Plenary indulgences are granted to pilgrims who visit one of the four major basilicas and pass through its Holy Door. The Holy Doors are otherwise cemented shut.

On December 8th, Pope Francis ceremoniously opened the Holy Door of Saint Peter's Basilica, marking the beginning of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

Pope Francis also extended to every ordinary bishop the privilege of designating Holy Doors within his diocese for pilgrims who are unable to travel to Rome. Cardinal Collins has designated Doors of Mercy at seven parishes and two shrines within the archdiocese. These local doors will open this Sunday, December 13, 2015.

Read more about the Holy Doors of Mercy in the Archdiocese of Toronto and how to obtain a jubilee indulgence.

In the Archives, we have records and souvenirs of previous Jubilees:

Archbishop Lynch fonds, L AL02.22

A certificate for pilgrims of the 1875 Jubilee Year, issued by Archbishop of Toronto John Joseph Lynch

Archbishop O'Connor fonds, O AA06.01

A pastoral letter issued by Archbishop Denis O'Connor concerning the 1900 Jubilee Year

Photographs Collection, PH62/02PC

Souvenir postcard of the Holy Year 1925 depicting Pope Pius XI

Textiles Special Collection, TX108

A souvenir silk scarf of the 1950 Jubilee Year. Pope Pius XII is depicted on the papal throne (sedia gestatoria) at the top along with portraits of the cardinals, including Toronto's Cardinal McGuigan (right)

Medallions Special Collection, MD09

Papal medallion struck by Pius XII on the occasion of the Great Jubilee Year of 1950 

Archbishop Pocock fonds, PO SU25.03
Cardinal Cardinal fonds, CA RC631.01

Bulls of Indiction (formal announcement or proclamation) for the Holy Years of 1975 and 1983, which depicts the opening of the Holy Doors.

Medallions Special Collection, MD144(a&b)

Pins issued for the celebration of the Great Jubilee in 2000

Artifacts Special Collection, AF283

Earthenware ciborium used at the Archdiocese of Toronto Jubilee 2000 Mass, Skydome, Toronto (June 18, 2000)

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