On Sunday 21 January, Pope Francis officially inaugurated the Year of Prayer ahead of the 2025 Jubilee. In comments after the Sunday Angelus, Pope Francis spoke about our need of ‘rediscovering the great value and absolute need for prayer, prayer in personal life, in the life of the Church, prayer in the world.’

The Pope pointed to conflict around the world, saying we should ‘not tire of invoking the Lord for peace’.

Looking ahead to the jubilee, he said, ‘I ask you to intensify your prayer to prepare us to live well this event of grace, and to experience the strength of God’s hope.’

The jubilee year begins on 24 December 2024 and extends until 6 January 2026. A special year of grace and pilgrimage, jubilees are typically marked every 25 years (though popes can and do call for other ‘extraordinary’ jubilee years outside of that). The Holy Doors of St Peter’s Basilica and other major basilicas in Rome, usually locked from the inside, are opened for a jubilee year and any who pass through can receive a plenary indulgence (with all the usual conditions).

Cathedrals around the world tend to have Holy Doors built into them so pilgrims do not have to travel all the way to Rome to receive this grace.

Prayer is the breath of faith; it is its most proper expression.

At a press conference on Tuesday 23 January offering more details, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, Pro-Prefect for the Dicastery of Evangelisation, said that for the Jubilee to be spiritually enriching for the Church, we must prepare for it.

‘This is not a year marked with particular initiatives; rather, it’s a privileged time in which to rediscover the value of prayer, the need for daily prayer in the Christian life; a time to discover how to pray, and above all how to educate the people of today in prayer, in this age of digital culture, so that prayer can be effective and fruitful,’ he said.

‘We cannot deny the fact that our time manifests a profound need for spirituality. The louder the cry of technology that seems to correspond to all our desires, the deeper we discern the search for a true spirituality that brings each person back to encounter themselves in the truth of their existence and therefore in a coherent relationship with God.’

He also spoke about the resources being prepared by the Dicastery for Evangelisation, which constitute a ‘symphony’ of prayer forms that Christian communities and individuals can make use of.

One of those will be a series of volumes called ‘Notes on Prayer’. In his introduction to one of these, Pope Francis writes:

‘Prayer is the breath of faith; it is its most proper expression. Like a cry that issues from the heart of those who believe and entrust themselves to God.’

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