Calcutta Archdiocese gives a new look to Jubilee Holy Door

The Archdiocese of Calcutta, in eastern India, renovates the Holy Door ahead of the Jubilee Year 2025.

By Robin Gomes

In view of the worldwide Catholic Church’s celebration of the Jubilee Year 2025, the Archdiocese of the eastern Indian city of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) recently unveiled its new-look Jubilee Holy Door. 

Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal state, joined Archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Calcutta at the inauguration of the Holy Door at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Rosary during a ceremony on Christmas Eve, December 24.

After unveiling the Christmas crib and offering floral tribute to Baby Jesus, Archbishop D’Souza and Chief Minister Banerjee cut the ribbon to inaugurate the Holy Door,.

The 3.7 meter by 2.5 meter main door of the cathedral now has a bronze-finish cladding on the theme of the Annunciation. The artwork depicting the announcement by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive a son, Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, has been conceptualized and executed by a young student, Parthabrata Ganguly, of Church Art, a Kolkata-based creative firm that specializes in creating sacred art in compliance with the Church laws and tradition.

“In times marked by conflicts and violence, the significance of a Jubilee Year Holy Door takes on an even more profound meaning. It stands as a symbol of hope, reconciliation, mercy, and peace amidst turmoil,” said Cathedral Vicar Fr. Franklin Menezes.

Holy Door of the Archdiocese of Kolkata

Holy Door of the Archdiocese of Kolkata

Jubilee Year roots

The tradition of the Jubilee Year, or Holy Year, has Jewish origins as described in the Book of Leviticus of the Holy Bible. The Scriptural text says that every 50 years, a year of rest for the earth must be celebrated (to make crops stronger) and people are commanded to free slaves to restore equality and close the gap between the rich and the poor.

In Western Christianity, the tradition dates to 1300, when Pope Boniface VIII convoked a Holy Year, following which ordinary jubilees have generally been celebrated every 25 or 50 years, with Extraordinary Jubilees in addition, when opportune.

The last ordinary Jubilee took place in the year 2000 during the pontificate of Pope St. John Paul II.  In 2015, Pope Francis proclaimed an Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy, which was observed from December 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016.

“I would greatly desire that we devote 2024, the year preceding the Jubilee event, to a great ‘symphony’ of prayer,” exhorts Pope Francis, who chose “Pilgrims of Hope” as the Jubilee theme, given the turbulent times the world is passing through. 

The start of the Jubilee Year, an event of great spiritual, ecclesial, and social significance for the Church, is marked by the opening of the Holy Doors across the world, usually on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.