WASHINGTON (March 15, 1999) -- Eight ways to mark the Jubilee Year 2000 have been outlined by the Subcommittee of U.S. Bishops charged with guiding efforts of the Church moving into the year 2000.
The recommendations, which have been published in "A Parish Guide to the Jubilee Year 2000," follow.
- Participate in the Pledge for Justice and Charity in the New Millennium, especially during Advent 1999. The committee, headed by Bishop Wilton Gregory, Vice-President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, urges parishioners to launch the effort by signing the Pledge, which calls for people to make a commitment to learn more about Church social teaching and to make working for justice part of their lives.
- Celebrate the National Day of Reconciliation and Pardon, slated for April 8, during Lent 2000. U.S. parishes and dioceses are asked to hold special celebrations of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and to precede this day with education on the sacrament.
- Sponsor a Diocesan Eucharistic Congress or Eucharistic Day Celebration. Dioceses are invited to convene a Eucharistic Congress or special Eucharistic celebration during the Jubilee Year. One suggested date is the Feast of Corpus Christi, June 24-25, 2000.
- Hold a Parish Mission. Missions usually take place in Advent and Lent and provide opportunities to renew one's relationship with Jesus Christ, to proclaim faith in Him, and to find the encouragement to bring the Gospel to society. Suggested dates include February 26-27, which coincides with a study convention of the Second Vatican Council, in Rome, and November 25-26, which coincides with the World Congress on the Laity, also to be held in Rome.
- Make a Personal Pilgrimage. The pilgrimage may be to holy sites such as Rome, the Holy Land, the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, the diocesan cathedral, other designated churches, or a particular shrine. The pilgrimage can be undertaken alone, as a family, as a parish community or as a diocese. Many dioceses have already designated churches in the diocese as pilgrimage sites. A pilgrimage to Rome to coincide with a major event, such as the International Eucharistic Congress, June 18-25, or World Youth Day, August 19-20, also might hold appeal for some people.
- Join a Small Christian Community or Faith Sharing Group. During the past fifteen years a spiritual movement has been growing throughout parishes in the United States the formation of small faith communities, or base communities. The Jubilee is an opportunity to become involved or renew participation in this faith fellowship experience. These groups provide parishioners with opportunities for prayer, reading, discussing and praying the Scriptures and seeing and sharing how God is present in the lives of people.
- Celebrate an Evangelization Sunday and become an evangelizing parish. The Jubilee is a time for reconciliation, new beginnings and evangelizing outreach. The Bishops invite parishes to foster new ways to welcome and witness and to reach out to both active members and non-active members, especially those who feel alienated from the Church, as well as those outside the Church. A specific Sunday or a particular week may be designated as Evangelization Sunday or Welcome Home Sunday.
- Celebrate the Jubilee Days -- Days of Celebration and Mission. Pope John Paul II has designated a number of "Jubilee Days" throughout the year, and the Bishops have suggested additional days to commemorate specific vocations and the dignity of work in general. The bishops note that these days have a two-fold purpose: to honor a particular group of people for their contributions to the Church and society and to provide an opportunity for people to deepen their understanding of living the Gospel. A complete listing of the Year 2000 Jubilee Days is included in an activities calendar included in the parish guide.
Editors: Copies of "A Parish Guide to the Jubilee Year 2000" can be ordered from the USCC Office of Publishing, 800-235-8722. Publication No. 5-316 English, 5-817 Spanish. $4.95, bulk and diocesan discounts apply.
Information on the Secretariat for the Third Millennium and the Jubilee Year 2000 can be found on the secretariat's Website: www:.nccbuscc.org/jubilee.