Jubilee 2000 Search


On the calendar of a whole millennium just a few pages remain and perhaps it is only now that we begin to realise the great privilege we have as a generation, to be both witnesses and protagonists of this momentous "passage".

We will be the ones, we heirs of the generations that have gone before us, who - on Christmas Eve 1999, will stand before that Holy Door which the Holy Father has already described as a "Door ... symbolically wider than those of previous Jubilees, because humanity, upon reaching this goal, will leave behind not just a century but a millennium." (TMA 33).

The whole of that intense and evocative liturgy of the first Vespers of Advent, evoked the image of a journey which has already begun and yet also of dynamic expectation - vibrant and throbbing - towards a new history which, with his Incarnation, Christ has opened and continues to open to all mankind. Just as He has opened time towards eternity, so the Saviour has also and definitively inserted hope into the human condition. And it is hope which guides our steps today as we enter a new stage in which to live intensely the years of immediate and direct preparation for the Great Jubilee of the Year Two Thousand.

There is a change of phase, but not of the primary objective: that of lifting up a "great prayer of praise and thanksgiving, especially for the gift of the Incarnation of the Son of God and the Redemption which he accomplished (TMA 32). Unchanging, above all, is our guide, the Tertio Millennio adveniente which we will continue not only to consult and to ponder as the "charter of spirituality" for the whole Jubilee, but also to use as a work-bench upon which to assemble a project of welcome, offered to anyone wishing to take part in the great feast which, in the name of Christ, the Church will celebrate for the whole of humanity. Along our path as we proceed, there are more and more signs of encouragement and hope.

Pope John Paul II made us a gift, during those Advent Vespers, of a prayer of extraordinary intensity, a choral act of thanksgiving, praise and glory to Christ "beginning and fulfilment of the new humanity". It is from these horizons that the Holy Father continues to make straight the path for us, day after day, with ever greater dedication and courage as father and shepherd of the Church which looks to the future surely with humility, and yet with no fear of solitude. A Jubilee of priestly ordination fell, not by chance, along this already jubilee path. The Pope's fifty years of priesthood came as a providential sign, yet another gift to the Church as she journeys towards the third Christian millennium.

This third issue of Tertium Millennium deals mainly with the passage from one phase to another in our preparation for the Great Jubilee. However, besides the conclusive activity of the ante-preparatory phase found in reports on the work of the commissions and committees, and the usual panorama of initiatives undertaken by national committees in the different countries, you will also find projects which look to the future. Of particular importance are the various Manuals, or hand-books offering common guidelines on the level of theological, pastoral and catechetical aspects. Also presented in this issue, and already visible on the cover, is the much awaited logo, or image which from now on, will mark every communication concerning the Great Jubilee of the Year Two Thousand. It is a sign - and not only a graphic one - which must communicate first of all, hope.

Cardinal Roger Etchegaray