DAILY CATHOLIC     THURSDAY     May 28, 1998     vol. 9, no. 103

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- The Vatican has released an official calendar for the Jubilee Year 2000, which will begin with the opening of the holy door of St. Peter's Basilica on Christmas Eve, 1999, and close on the feast of the Epiphany in 2001.

          However Cardinal Roger Etchegary, the president of the Jubilee committee, cautions that plans for the celebration in the Holy Land remain unclear because of the political situation there. Pope John Paul has frequently voiced his desire to visit the Holy Land during the Jubilee year, but no such plans are currently on the schedule. In fact, the only date fixed on the schedule for a celebration there is the observance of the feast of the Annunciation, which is to take place at Nazareth on March 25, 2000. Cardinal Etchegaray told reporters that other events would be fixed on the calendar if and when developments in the Middle East offered better prospects for a peaceful celebration.

          In his encyclical Tertio Millennio Adveniente, Pope John Paul called for an assembly of all Christians, to take place during the Jubilee year in the land where Jesus lived. That event has not yet been scheduled-- although the official calendar does note a pan-Christian assembly at Assisi, to take place in October 1999. There is also a plan for an ecumenical day of prayer at St. Peter's Basilica on Pentecost Sunday, 2000.

          Ash Wednesday (March 8) of 2000 is designated as a "day of pardon"-- a date that will be used by the many Catholics suggesting the forgiveness of financial debts as well during the Jubilee. Also listed on the calendar are special days for children (January 2), consecrated life (February 2), the sick and health-care workers (February 11), artists (February 18), permanent deacons (February 20), the Roman Curia (February 22), craftsmen (March 20), migrants and refugees (April 10), workers (May 1), the clergy (May 18), scientists (May 25), the diocese of Rome (May 28), journalists (June 4), prisoners (July 9), university students (September 10), bishops (October 8), families (October 15), athletes (October 29), public- affairs workers (November 5), farmers and agricultural workers (November 12), police and military officers (November 19), and entertainers (December 17).

          There will also be a series of major conferences in Rome: a study session on Vatican II (February 25-27), a Eucharistic Congress (June 18-25), the World Youth Day (August 5-20), Marian congress (September 15-24), the Pope's encounter with families (October 14- 15), and a world congress on lay apostolate (November 24-26).

          Finally, the calendar includes a number of major liturgical celebrations, in the different rites of the Church: Chaldean and Malabar on January 28, Maronite on February 9, Coptic on August 14, the Acathist Hymn of the Byzantine rite on October 1, the Ambrosian rite on November 4, the Syrian-Malankar rite on November 21, and others.

          The calendar stresses the universal character of the Jubilee celebration, but at the same time insists that the Roman calendar is not the only list of events for the Jubilee, but that each diocese should have its own calendar. The Holy See, organizers say, will seek to provide leadership and inspiration for local initiatives.

          In Rome, the formal celebration will begin on Christmas Eve, when the Pope opens the holy door to St. Peter's and the other major basilicas of Rome-- except St. Paul-outside-the-walls, where the holy door will remain closed until the beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in a gesture indicating the importance of the ecumenical element of the Jubilee. A door will also be opened in one of the basilicas of the Holy Land, although that detail-- like so many others touching that region-- remains undisclosed.

          The Jubilee will also see a concerted effort to update the Church's martyrology-- the complete list of those who have given their lives for the faith since the first days of Christianity. The Vatican has already begun preparing dossiers for 8,000 cases which could merit beatification.

Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

May 28, 1998       volume 9, no. 103


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