In his Angelus address on Jan. 21, Pope Francis announced a year of prayer that will lead up to the Catholic Church’s 2025 Jubilee Year. He described it as “a year dedicated to rediscovering the great value and absolute need for prayer in one’s personal life, in the life of the Church, and in the world.” The Holy See Press Office held a press conference on Jan. 23rd with remarks from H.E. Msgr. Rino Fisichella and Msgr. Graham Bell who both serve in the Secretariat of the Dicastery for Evangelization at the Vatican. In the Dicastery’s Section for the Fundamental Questions of Evangelization in the World, Fisichella is the Pro-Prefect and Graham is the Undersecretary in Charge.

H.E. Msgr. Rino Fisichella indicated that we shouldn’t expect a series of programs, but that we are to rediscover prayer; its value, our need for it, and indeed, our very ability to pray. This, so that we may witness to the world and invigorate the life of the Church as a “concrete sign of hope,” he said.

Msgr. Bell described the publication of an eight-volume series of books on prayer entitled Notes on Prayer that will highlight those who have, he said, “a different gaze and a different heart.” The books will include profound witnesses of prayer such as St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Mother Theresa of Calcutta. The first book, Praying Today, A Challenge to be Overcome, is already available for purchase online at https://www.libreriaeditricevaticana.va/. The plan is to release two or three books each month with the final edition, The Our Father, coming out in April.

Other resources will include pastoral aids released by the dicastery on prayer that are specific to the lived experience of families, priests, nuns, young people, and others. Pope Francis will conduct a “School of Prayer” with various groups, and H.E. Msgr. Fisichella encouraged a review of Francis’ 38 catechetical talks on prayer given from May 2020 to June of 2021.

A jubilee is a special holy year of grace and pilgrimage in the Catholic Church. It typically takes place once every 25 years, though the pope can call for extraordinary jubilee years like the 2016 Year of Mercy or the 2013 Year of Faith. The 2025 Jubilee Year begins on Dec. 24, 2024 and concludes on Jan. 6, 2026.

Jubilees have biblical roots. The Book of Leviticus called for jubilee years to be held every 50 years for the freeing of slaves and forgiveness of debts as manifestations of God’s mercy. The practice was reestablished by Pope Boniface VIII in 1300.

You can learn more about the Year of Prayer, and the upcoming 2025 Jubilee, HERE.

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