Pope Francis has extended the sacrament of confession's availability to the world in other ways as well. For instance, all priests will automatically have the faculties to remit the penalty of excommunication attached to the sin of abortion, without having to receive permission from their bishops. The Pope has also granted faculties to priests of the Society of Pius X to hear confessions during the Jubilee as a step towards reconciling the traditionalist fraternity with the Holy See.
One of the characteristics of any Jubilee Year is the opening of Holy Door in St. Peter's Basilica, which allows those who pass through to obtain a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions
. The official “Holy Doors” are only found in the four major basilicas of Rome. For the Jubilee of Mercy, however, Pope Francis has asked that the tradition of the Holy Door be available at the local level.
“The Holy Father has stressed that this Jubilee is not only to be celebrated in Rome but in all of the particular churches of the world,” Fr. Sylva said.
“This is why he has asked every bishop in the world to choose in his diocese a Holy Door, a Door of Mercy, so that all people may have a chance to make a pilgrimage through a Door of Mercy.”
“Each of the Jubilee initiatives is an invitation to bask in what Pope Francis has called the balm of God's mercy,” Fr. Geno said.
The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization is overseeing visits to the Holy Door in St. Peter's Basilica, and encourages pilgrims to register at their website
“Because there’s going to be so many people that’ll want to get through the Holy Door, we just want to make sure that it’s really prayerful,” Fr. Sylva said. “It’s a spiritual journey of conversion that people are making, and so it’ll be reserved and people will be given enough time.”
In addition to approving “missionaries of mercy” and helping pilgrims cross through the Holy Door of St. Peter's, the Pontifical Council is also tasked with charitable initiatives worldwide.
For instance, Fr. Sylva explained, the Pope has asked the council to establish an agricultural college in Burkina Faso, West Africa, which teaches young people to provide for themselves through agriculture.
“The Holy Father would like us to leave behind, after the Jubilee of Mercy, really concrete signs of God’s mercy, he said.
The Pope first announced the Year of Mercy on March 13, the second anniversary of his pontifical election, during a Lenten penitential liturgy in St. Peter’s Basilica.
On April 11, the Holy Father officially proclaimed the Jubilee Year with the release of the Bull of Indiction.
Mercy is a theme that is dear to Pope Francis, and is the central topic of his episcopal motto “miserando atque eligendo,” which he chose when ordained a bishop in 1992.