At this point you have probably heard that Pope Francis has declared this year an extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy. 2016 is a great year to walk or cycle the Via Francigena pilgrim route. In our last post we highlighted three great walking and cycling routes for the Holy Year. For this article we want to give you some useful information and facts that will help if you are planning a trip to Italy for the Jubilee of Mercy. Due to number of participants expected to make the pilgrimage to Rome and get involved in the many Jubilee’s events throughout the year there are some guidelines for all who would like to take part.
The Vatican have stipulated that anyone who wishes to enter St Peter’s Basilica through the Holy Door will need to register on the official Vatican website in advance of their trip. The registration document is 4 pages long and available online. Once you have registered you will be provided with a link to a user webpage where you can register for any of the major events and also register to enter St Peter’s Basilica through the Holy Door. Once you complete your registration you will receive an email with a registration code and ticket that you must bring with you and present at the pilgrims information office.
If you are travelling as part of a group, a designated group leader can register for the group. The group leader must provide all of the details requested and they can then collect the tickets for the events at the pilgrims information office when the group arrives in Rome.
To enter St Peter’s Basilica through the Holy Door as a pilgrim you will need to check availability prior to your pilgrimage. Once you register on the Vatican website you can choose your preferred time to enter the Basilica. The organising Secretariat of the Jubilee will respond via email with the best available times for entry and include a voucher to bring with you to the entrance.
Some of the major events over the course of the year that you can register for include the following Jubilees:
1. Jubilee for Those Engaged in Pilgrimage Work
2. Jubilee for the Spirituality of Divine Mercy
3. Jubilee for Deacons
4. Jubilee for Priests
5. Jubilee for the Sick and Persons with Disabilities
6. Jubilee for Workers and Volunteers of Mercy
7. Jubilee for Catechists
8. Marian Jubilee
If you are travelling as part of a local religious group, coming from outside of the European Union you may be entitled to some help with the Visa process. Pilgrims participating in a diocesan pilgrimage from outside of Europe may be entitled to a special ‘Jubilee tourism’ visa. If an individual or group is planning to go to Rome as part of a pilgrimage or to visit holy sites in Italy during the Holy Year, their local co-ordinator can apply for the ‘Jubilee tourism’ visa. The application form for this special visa is available on the official Jubilee of Mercy website.
We hope that you find this information helpful and if you have any further questions about walking or cycling the Via Francigena for the Holy Year of Mercy please contact one of our travel specialists.