Jubilee 2000 Search


In these times of tour operators able to organize instant "package trips" for individuals or groups even in the remotest corners of the earth, we could feel strongly tempted to underestimate the problem of organizing hospitality for the Great Jubilee of 2000, judging it to be a question that can be solved with a careful management of "board and lodging" packages for sojourns in places of pilgrimage.

Even the attitude of the national media, which tend to present the subject of making the pilgrims welcome exclusively a matter of beds and public transport in the Rome area, demonstrates that we need to change a mentality which is diffused and help people realise that although the pilgrim has all the needs of the tourist, he or she is not a tourist, and the subject of hospitality will be played on a much vaster scene than that of Rome.

For the year 2000 we must imagine an influx of people for whom the reasons for the journey will prevail over the conditions of the journey, and who are therefore ready to forego certain commodities generally expected on a pleasure journey. Many of the pilgrims will be poor, many will be invalids, and many in particular conditions, who wish to live the experience of the pilgrimage in a dimension of austerity.

Besides the motivations of the pilgrim there are other aspects which warn against reducing the preparation of hospitality to a question that can be managed on the basis of tourist parameters. The Jubilee is a very special event, quite different from a World Exhibition or the Olympic Games. It is different because of its religious and cultural nature, its world-wide resonance, its duration, a whole twelve months, the number of people it moves, the quantity of national and international Institutions involved. Even World Youth Days cannot be taken as a measure of comparison.

From the complexity of the event, comes the obligation to look at hospitality as a series of matters which are interwoven, to be faced as a whole with a unitary strategy, and the organization of a proper plan a: "Hospitality Project". Besides a plan for offering accommodation and meals, there must be plans for everything in the way of information and communication, transport, security, hygiene, health assistance, religious assistance, formation of the operators, collateral initiatives of a cultural and social character, arrangement of areas and other possible services.

All this must be done not only for Rome and its province, but for the entire region of Lazio, the bordering regions and indeed the whole of Italy.

In his Tertio Millennio adveniente the Holy Father reminds us that "The preparation for the Jubilee Year 2000 is thus taking place throughout the whole Church on the universal and local levels, giving her a new awareness of the salvific mission she has received from Christ"(21). The actual celebration of the Great Jubilee "will take place simultaneously in the Holy Land, in Rome and in the local Churches throughout the world". (55)

Working on a project of hospitality we must place Rome at its centre, without however forgetting that the local Churches will have their own hospitality-problem to solve. The Technical Committee is working on all-encompassing model, certainly suited to the needs of the event in Rome, but which may be adapted with opportune variations, to meet the requirements of the local Churches.

It is essential that cities of art and places of religious interest on the national territory avoid taking a restricted and unplanned view of the hospitality factor. As potential centres of polarisation of pilgrims travelling to Rome, there is a danger that these centres engage in unarticulated concurrence to intercept the flows of pilgrims. Just as real, is the danger that attention devoted to "capturing" passing pilgrims may detract attention from the task of organizing above all the Jubilee on their own territory for the local people, according to the intentions expressed by the Holy Father.

What are the points on which to plan such a comprehensive "Project Hospitality"? We indicate four dimensions:

  • The spiritual dimension of the Event. In his Tertio Millennio adveniente the Holy Father asks each of us to do everything in our power to ensure that the Jubilee will be properly celebrated and become a fount of grace for the Church and for all humanity. For those who are working to prepare the Event, this calls for caution, to prevent the Jubilee from being thought and managed as a tourist event, purely on economic terms, and be consumed by the pilgrim like any other goods.
  • The dimension of co-ordination. Many problems concerning hospitality, involve public Administration, others can be solved by private groups or association. The grade of organization obtainable will depend on whether the structures of the Holy See, those of Italy, national and territorial, other available forces, succeed in co-ordinating their activity. We all stand to lose if we each go our own way.
  • The technology dimension. Three are the compulsory steps for drafting a good project: monitor pilgrimage requests; take stock of resources available in terms of personnel, structures and economic means; analyse requests and offers of services. These are steps which need the support of computer and telematic technology to have a data bank and a management system for the Event.
  • The hospitality dimension. The pilgrims who are able to come to Rome, will be numerous, but nevertheless they will only be a minimum part of all who would like to experience the 2000th anniversary of the Incarnation at the heart of Christianity. It will be important to help those who come to feel they represent those at home and are indeed sent by them as messengers of peace and brotherhood, and also that as such they are considered by the resident Roman population. Only in this way will we be able to establish real contact between the welcoming community and those who are being welcomed, thus making the Jubilee truly "a fount of grace for the Church and humanity".

These are the working criteria assumed by the Technical Committee, which has left the preliminary stage since the inauguration of the offices at number 1 Via della Conciliazione, in Rome: right in the centre, therefore, of those realities which it is called to promote, organize and support.

The structure will be articulated as a centre of services, which will deal with sectors ranging from communication to the co-ordination of pilgrimages/holidays, the co-ordination of the great events; Jubilee pilgrimages by category. A series of work-groups, already set up, will deal with some most important areas of organization, such as accommodation, transport, religious itineraries and churches, health-care, security, and technical and infra-structure services around the celebration area.

From January 1997, in an atmosphere of enthusiasm and dedication, these work-groups will start the construction of the hospitality project Holy Year 2000. Besides setting up contact with the National Committees, to create an essential system of integrated activity, for each of the mentioned areas, the Technical Committee will make its experts available, so that on the "benches" at which the City, Region, Government, Agenzia Romana for the Jubilee, are working, there will be men and women able to approach the problems in hand from the point of view which we have sought to explain in this report.

Prof. Donato R. Mosella