Have you read the ‘Bull of Indiction’?


Hope does not disappoint (Rom 5:5)







  1. SPES NON CONFUNDIT. “Hope does not disappoint” (Rom 5:5). In the spirit of hope, the Apostle Paul addressed these words of encouragement to the Christian community of Rome. Hope is also the central message of the coming Jubilee that, in accordance with an ancient tradition, the Pope proclaims every twenty-five years. My thoughts turn to all those pilgrims of hope… https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/bulls/documents/20240509_spes-non-confundit_bolla-giubileo2025.html

I share the “heading” and first lines of the “Bull of Indication” that our Holy Father, Pope Francis, wrote to the whole Church and was published in Rome this past May 9, the Solemnity of the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. Personally, I was aware that 2025 would be a Jubilee Year and I had heard (in late April) that our Holy Father would be issuing a document or statement that would speak about the plans for the Jubilee. I then heard and saw some media coverage of the publication of the “Bull of Indiction.” Last week, I had the opportunity to read the full text, and am now very excited and very much looking forward to the coming Jubilee Year.

As I think about my own experience of previous Jubilee Years, I have memories of the “Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy” in 2016, when I was serving as a pastor in Brooklyn. I found some helpful “reminders” of that year and some of the details on Wikipedia:

“The 2016 Jubilee was first announced by Pope Francis on 13 March 2015. It was declared in the pope’s April 2015 papal bull of indiction (formal announcement or proclamation), Misericordiae Vultus (Latin for “The Face of Mercy”). It is the 27th holy year in history, following the ordinary 2000 Jubilee during John Paul II‘s papacy. The opening day was also the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council.

Francis wished for the Jubilee to be celebrated not only in Rome but all around the world; for the first time holy doors were opened in single dioceses, either in the cathedral or in historical churches. The first holy door was opened by Pope Francis in Bangui on 29 November 2015, during a tour of East Africa… .” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraordinary_Jubilee_of_Mercy

Recalling the “extraordinary” Jubilee of 2016 can help us to remember or learn that “ordinary” Jubilee years occur every 25 years, while the Holy Father can call for an “Extraordinary Jubilee” when he identifies or sees a need or benefit for the Church and the human family. Continuing to look back, we may recall that the last “ordinary” Jubilee was, actually, “extraordinary” or of great historical significance because it brought us into a new millennium. I have some very clear memories of St. Pope John Paul II calling the Church to prepare for and celebrate the “Great Jubilee of the Year 2000” and the coming of the third millennium. I was pleased to find a web page with a summary of the Holy Father’s Apostolic Letter, Tertio Millenio Adveniente:

On Nov. 10, 1994, Pope John Paul II promulgated an Apostolic Letter, Tertio Millennio Adveniente, addressed to “the Bishops, the clergy and lay faithful on preparation for the Jubilee of the Year 2000.” The document contains a brief introduction and five chapters. The introduction presents the main subject of the letter: the Jubilee is a celebration of the redeeming Incarnation of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.


The web page from “catholic-resources” provides links to the Vatican website, where you can find the full text of St. Pope John Paul’s Apostolic Letter. It also offers two brief, but informative articles, which are also available on the Vatican website, on, “What is a Holy Year?” and “The History of the Jubilee.”

I have wonderful memories of being a newly ordained priest in 1997 and sharing with parishioners in the three years of “Trinitarian” preparation during which St. Pope John Paul II invited us to reflect on Christ, the Son in 1997, on the Holy Spirit in 1998 and on God the Father in 1999. When recalling the “New Year” of 2000, many remember something called “Y 2 K” and the great, ultimately unfounded, fear and concern that computers would malfunction or stop working when the year changed from 1999 to 2000. When many Catholics and people of faith remember the Year 2000, we remember the way that Pope John Paul led us and the whole world into the great Jubilee Year, encouraging us to not be afraid to “put out into the deep” (Lk. 5:4)

Now we approach the Jubilee Year of 2025. Last week, as I traveled to and from Louisville, Ky. for the USCCB meetings, I had the time to do some reading and I was able to read Pope Francis’ “Bull of Indiction” for the coming Jubilee Year. If you have some time in the coming days, weeks, or months, I strongly encourage you to read this beautiful invitation to prepare for and participate in the coming Jubilee as “pilgrims of hope.”

If you are able to make the time to read “Hope does not disappoint,” you will hear the Holy Father inviting each of us to, not only be “pilgrims,” but “instruments” of hope, offering that gift of hope to all, especially to those who need it most. As he writes in the second paragraph: “… Often we come across people who are discouraged, pessimistic and cynical about the future, as if nothing could possibly bring them happiness. For all of us, may the Jubilee be an opportunity to be renewed in hope. God’s word helps us find reasons for that hope…”

After offering “A word of hope,” he goes on to speak of: “A journey of hope,” “Signs of hope,” and “Appeals for hope,” concluding with a beautiful reflection on what it means to be “Anchored in hope.” I very much look forward to our diocesan participation, as pilgrims of hope in the coming year. We will be able to do so more fully and effectively if we are prepared, remembering that Pope Francis has asked us that this year of 2024, be a “Year of Prayer” in preparation for the Jubilee. We have already begun some of our preparation with diocesan leaders. I look forward to sharing more details with you in the coming weeks and months. For the moment, a great way to begin or continue preparing for the Jubilee is to read, reflect, and bring to prayer the words of Pope Francis, under the title and with the assurance that “Hope does not disappoint.”



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