Inauguration of the Holy Year in Santiago

I’m a little slow in getting this up, but I’ve been trying to get my feet under me as a neophyte blogger.

On 31 December 2009, the Archbishop of Santiago, Don Julián Barrio Barrio, opened the Holy Door in the cathedral, inaugurating the 2010 Holy Year in Santiago de Compostela.  A Holy Year is any year in which the Feast of St. James the Greater, 25 July, falls on a Sunday, an event that won’t occur again until 2021.  That means this promises to be a very special year in Santiago.

The papal nuncio in Spain, Monsignor Renzo Fratini, also attended the opening ceremonies, which took place on 31 December, and read a letter from the Holy Father to the assembled clergy, political dignitaries and faithful attending the liturgy.

Here is a video of the ceremony from EFE News Service, which was posted on YouTube:

If you can’t speak Spanish, this is a quick translation of the narration offered by the reporter:

With three strikes of a small hammer, the Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela marked the beginning of the Compostellan Holy Year 2010, opening the Holy Door of the Spanish cathedral which is believed to contain the remains of the Apostle St. James was opened.

At the start of the ceremony, the Papal Nuncio in Spain read from a letter from Pope Benedict XVI, in which the pontiff encouraged pilgrims to reflect on “the anguish of human existence and to open new horizons.”

The Jubilee Holy Year was instituted by Pope Calixtus II at the beginning of the 12th century, and it is celebrated every time the 25th of July, the Feast of St. James the Apostle, falls on a Sunday, something that will not occur again until 2021.

The feast is also celebrated in other places such as Santiago de Chile.  It is a special time for the Catholic faithful, in which they can obtain release from the punishment due for their sins.

I’m impressed that she got that last bit right!