An Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy

Jubilee of Mercy Vatican Site

On this page you will find information about the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, links to the Official Vatican Site about the Jubilee, information and articles about Jubilee years in the Church’s history.

Items marked with one *asterisk contain video or audio content; items marked with two **asterisks contain links to other articles.

To go directly to an article or to the video you wish to view, click on any title below to follow the link. 

The complete document for download:  Jubilee of Mercy - Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy



**An Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy

In the last one hundred years, this is the third extraordinary jubilee to be called. As an Extraordinary Jubilee, there are a number of firsts:

For the first time in the history of the Jubilee tradition, there will be an opportunity for individual dioceses to open a Holy Door –The Door of Mercy –either in the Cathedral or in a church of special meaning or a shrine of particular importance for pilgrimages. Similarly, it is easy to cull other characteristics from the Bull of Indiction that will make this Jubilee unique. From the very beginning, however, the call to mercy breaks with the traditional pattern. The history of Jubilees has been marked by their occurrence every 50 or 25 years. The two Extraordinary Jubilees fell on anniversaries of Christ’s redemptive act (1933, 1983). This Jubilee, however, is based upon a theme. It will build upon the central content of the faith and intends to call the Church once again to its missionary priority of being a sign and witness in every aspect of its pastoral life. I also have in mind Pope Francis’s appeal to Judaism and Islam aslociin which to contextualize the theme of mercy in order to foster dialogue and a way of overcoming difficulties in the public realm. We must also not forget another original characteristic of this Jubilee, namely, the designation ofMissionaries of Mercy.

Read more about the calling of this particular Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy go to:


**Vatican site for the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy

The following link will take you directly to the Vatican Site for the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. Once in the site, take the time to read the homilies given by Pope Francis about God’s Mercy, the many ways that the Jubilee is being celebrated throughout the year, news articles about the Jubilee of Mercy , other interesting articles and videos clips about the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.

The Vatican site for the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy:


**Announcement for the Jubilee

To read about and hear the announcement for the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy go to:


**Bull of Indiction

On April 11, 2015, Pope Francis presented the official Bull of Indiction for the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.  The bull is the fundamental document for the Holy Year that outlines the overall spirit and intentions for the Jubilee; as well as, presenting the hope for the spiritual fruits that will result during the Jubilee.

To read the Bull of Indiction for the Extraordinary Jubilee click on the following link:


The Tradition of a Jubilee Year


**An Ancient Tradition Revived

In the ancient Hebrew tradition, the Jubilee Year, which was celebrated every 50 years, was meant to restore equality among all of the children of Israel, offering new possibilities to families which had lost their property and even their personal freedom. In addition, the Jubilee Year was a reminder to the rich that a time would come when their Israelite slaves would once again become their equals and would be able to reclaim their rights. "Justice, according to the Law of Israel, consisted above all in the protection of the weak" (St. John Paul II,Tertio millenio adveniente13).

The Catholic tradition of the Holy Year began with Pope Boniface VIII in 1300. Boniface VIII had envisioned a Jubilee every century. From 1475 onwards – in order to allow each generation to experience at least one Holy Year – the ordinary Jubilee was to be celebrated every 25 years. However, an extraordinary Jubilee may be announced on the occasion of an event of particular importance.

Until present, there have been 26 ordinary Holy Year celebrations, the last of which was the Jubilee of 2000. The custom of calling extraordinary Jubilees dates back to the XVI century.

Sometimes, however, when there are questions that are perceived to be particularly urgent, Popes have not hesitated in conceding Universal Extraordinary Jubilees, without this affecting the recurrence of Ordinary ones. The custom of proclaiming Extraordinary Jubilees dates back to the 16th century; their duration varies from a few days to one year. Francis' Extraordinary Jubilee of mercy is preceded by 64 universal Extraordinary Jubilees, all of which have had a variety of meanings and premises. The first was declared by Sixtus V (1585-1590) on 25 May 1585 to inaugurate his own pontificate, marking the start of a custom that would continue for a number of pontificates to come. Extraordinary Jubilees have been proclaimed: to promote peace among Christians; in response to specific needs of ecclesiastical hierarchies; to mark special historic occasions such as the success of a Council, the fight against the Turks and the 50th anniversary of the dogmatic definition of the Immaculate Conception.

This paragraph was taken for an article in the ‘Vatican Insider’:  Read the full article

The last extraordinary Holy Years, which were celebrated during the previous century, were those in 1933, proclaimed by Pius XI to celebrate nineteen hundred years of Redemption and in 1983, proclaimed by John Paul II on the occasion of the 1950 years of Redemption.

The Catholic Church has given to the Hebrew Jubilee a more spiritual significance. It consists in a general pardon, an indulgence open to all, and the possibility to renew one’s relationship with God and neighbor. Thus, the Holy Year is always an opportunity to deepen one’s faith and to live with a renewed commitment to Christian witness.

This information was taken from the Media release on March 13, 2015 announcing the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy: Read the full release


List of Jubilee Years and their Popes

A Jubilee Year is "ordinary" if it falls after the set period of years, and "extraordinary" when it is proclaimed for some outstanding event. There have been twenty-six "ordinary" Holy Years so far.  There were two extraordinary jubilees in the last century: 1933 proclaimed by Pope Pius XI to mark the 1900 anniversary of Redemption and 1983 proclaimed by Pope John Paul II to mark 1950 years since the Redemption carried out by Christ through his Death and Resurrection in the year 33: Read more about Holy Years

A list of the Jubilees since 1300 and the name of the Pope who called them:

1300: Boniface VIII

1350: Clement VI

1390: proclaimed by Urban VI, presided over by Boniface IX

1400: Boniface IX

1423: Martin V

1450: Nicholas V

1475: proclaimed by Paul II, presided over by Sixtus IV

1500: Alexander VI

1525: Clement VII

1550: proclaimed by Paul III, presided over by Julius III

1575: Gregory XIII

1600: Clement VIII

1625: Urban VIII

1650: Innocent X

1675: Clement X

1700: opened by Innocent XII, closed by Clement XI

1725: Benedict XIII

1750: Benedict XIV

1775: proclaimed by Clement XIV, presided over by Pius VI

1825: Leo XII

1875: Pius IX

1900: Leo XIII

1925: Pius XI

*1933: Pius XI

1950: Pius XII

1975: Paul VI

*1983: John Paul II

2000: John Paul II

*2015: Francis

*Marks the three years in which Extraordinary Jubilees were called.

In the years 1800 and 1850, due to the political circumstances of the times, there were no jubilees. To read more about the history of the Holy Years called by the Church go to:


The opening of the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica 1983 and 2015:

st peters basilica holy door




(John Paul II opening the Holy Doors for the Extraordinary Jubilee in 1983)

This picture is from a story, entitled ‘Extraordinary Jubilee: Last one was declared by John Paul II, the one before that by Pius XI': Read the article 






Pope Francis opens Holy Doors




(Pope Francis opening the Holy Doors for the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, December 8, 2015)

This picture is from a story, entitled ‘Opening the Holy Year, Francis says mercy always trumps judgement: Read the article  








Official Hymn

Year of Mercy Logo and Official Prayer

Year of Mercy Logo

The logo and the motto together provide a fitting summary of what the Jubilee Year is all about.  The motto Merciful Like the Father (Luke 6:36) serves as an invitation to follow the merciful example of the Father who asks us not to judge or condemn but to forgive and to give love and forgiveness without measure (Luke 6:37-38). 

Learn More



Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy Hymn

On August 10, 2015, the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization (PCPNE) has released the official hymn of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.

The title of the hymn is the same as the jubilee’s motto: “Misericordes sicut Pater” (Merciful like the Father). The hymn was written by Father Eugenio Costa, an Italian Jesuit, and set to music by Paul Inwood, an English organist and composer.

The authors of the original music have donated the copyright of this work to the PCPNE in order to facilitate the distribution of the Hymn of the Jubilee of Mercy  throughout the Catholic Church.


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