February 4, 2024
Dear Parish Family,
The next few years will be filled with anniversaries. Anniversaries are milestones, they are opportunities to look back on how far we’ve come, to commemorate something significant, and to celebrate the years to come. For graduations and ordinations, we identify the graduate by the year they completed their education or training. The year is significant. It’s almost as if to say, “this is MY year”! We define many significant events by the year; the year someone was born, the year someone was married, the year someone bought a house, retired, even the year someone dies.
We are coming up on the 250th anniversary of the founding of our country, and so we will remember this by celebrating as a nation. It’s the same for our Church family. Ahead of us are three very special years.
The first, 2025, is a Jubilee Year in the Church. In Scripture, the Jewish people would celebrate The Year of Jubilee, which came every 50th year, which was a year full of releasing people from their debts, releasing all slaves, and returning property to those who owned it (Leviticus 25:1-13). This year was also dedicated to rest. During this year, the Israelites were not supposed to reap or harvest; it was a time for people to return to their families and loved ones.
Christians continue this tradition by celebrating a Year of Jubilee every 25 years. The last Year of Jubilee in the Church was in 2000. We celebrated 2,000 years since Jesus was born, and next year we will commemorate 2,025 years since His birth. Part of this custom is to celebrate, receive special graces, and make pilgrimages.
In keeping with this tradition, Good Shepherd will be making a pilgrimage to Rome from February 12, 2025 to February 20, 2025. This pilgrimage will include Visits to the Seven Pilgrim Churches that Grant the Special Jubilee Plenary Indulgence, The Catacombs, a Papal Blessing in Saint Peter’s Square, a visit to Vatican City, the Sistine Chapel, the Holy Steps, Saint Peter’s Basilica and Holy Door, and will include a Papal Audience, a day trip to Assisi, and an optional extension to Padua and Venice.
The Holy Door is an entrance portal located within the Papal major basilicas in Rome. The doors are normally sealed by mortar and cement from the inside so that they cannot be opened. They are ceremoniously opened during Jubilee years designated by the Pope, for pilgrims who enter through those doors may piously gain the plenary indulgences attached with the Jubilee year celebrations. We will have an opportunity to walk through those open doors and receive a Plenary Indulgence during our pilgrimage!
2026 marks a special anniversary in our parish; the 75th Anniversary of Good Shepherd! We are planning many special events and activities to commemorate the founding of our parish on May 28, 1951, and 2027 marks the 50th anniversary of the cornerstone of our current church being laid. We have even MORE to celebrate with sacraments, special graces, and everything in between.
So we are busy getting ready for these special year, planning and preparing for how to commemorate these significant milestones with praise, love, and thanksgiving.
Grace and peace,
Father Neil Sullivan