Goa, India – The Catholic Church in India is gearing up to participate in the upcoming Jubilee of 2025 with joy and a profound sense of responsibility towards its evangelizing mission. The central theme for this significant event is “Pilgrims of Hope.” Cardinal Filipe Neri Ferrao, the Archbishop of Goa-Daman and President of the Conference of Bishops of the Latin Rite of India (CCBI), introduced the preparation process, emphasizing the importance of hope amid the uncertainties of our world, such as war, pandemics, suffering, and natural disasters.
“We advance towards the final phase of the Synod and walk together towards another celebration, the Jubilee of 2025, marking the 2025th anniversary of the birth of Jesus,” Cardinal Ferrao stated. “These celebrations will be fully integrated with our synodal path, under the banner of hope, a theological virtue that sustains Christians in these trying times. In India, too, we aspire to rekindle the fire of hope, and the upcoming Jubilee can play a significant role in restoring hope and trust in our nation.”
Cardinal Ferrao highlighted the threefold purpose of Jubilee 2025: to celebrate Jesus, to celebrate the Church, and to celebrate their faith. As part of the preparation process, 2024 has been designated by the Bishops as the “Year of Prayer.” The journey leading up to the Jubilee will involve reflection on and consideration of the four fundamental Constitutions of the Second Vatican Council, seen as a guiding compass for the People of God.
To assist in this preparation, the Vatican Dicastery for Evangelization has published 35 pamphlets on various topics such as the Word of God, liturgy, and the role of the Church in the modern world. These pamphlets, already translated into Hindi, will be distributed across all dioceses to serve as valuable resources for the spiritual growth and animation of Indian Catholic communities.
November 26 Kick-off
The Indian Catholic Church’s local dioceses will officially commence their preparations for the Jubilee on November 26, 2023, coinciding with the Solemnity of Christ the King. A national team is poised to visit all 132 Latin rite dioceses in India to raise awareness among the faithful regarding the spirit and significance of the Jubilee.
Cardinal Ferrao elaborated, “On the path of the Jubilee, we cross the ‘holy door’ with faith. To be authentic ‘pilgrims of hope,’ we must also enter through the ‘holy doors’ of places such as hospitals, orphanages, homes for the homeless, prisons, and refugee camps, where hope is often scarce. This jubilee journey will guide us in discerning God’s plan for the Church in India.”
Quo Vadis, India?
This Jubilee, however, extends beyond just an “intra-church” celebration. It encourages the baptized to reflect on and address the current socio-political issues in India from an evangelical perspective. Father Suresh Mathew, a Capuchin friar and the director of “Indian Currents,” a Catholic weekly published in New Delhi, emphasized the need for this broader perspective. He posed the question, “Quo Vadis India?” or “Where are you going, India?”
This question compels us to acknowledge the complexities of India’s current socio-political landscape, including the protection of human dignity and human rights, the preservation of the Constitution’s founding values, and the challenge of combating “pseudo-nationalism” that undermines India’s pluralistic character. Addressing social injustices and long-standing problems like poverty and limited educational opportunities for all are also essential aspects of this Jubilee.
Furthermore, the Jubilee places a strong emphasis on peace and reconciliation, particularly in regions like Manipur, where conflicts persist, to safeguard the interests of marginalized and vulnerable populations. “Peace must be alive and full of hope for a better tomorrow for all,” Father Mathew concluded.
As the Church in India embarks on this spiritual journey towards the Jubilee of 2025, it carries a message of hope and a commitment to address the pressing issues facing both the Church and the nation, guided by their unwavering faith in Jesus Christ.