St. Peter’s Basilica unveils charity projects ahead of 2025 Jubilee

As preparations continue in Rome for the upcoming 2025 Jubilee year, St. Peter’s Basilica announces two new charity projects, aimed at helping refugees and prisoners.

By Joseph Tulloch

More than 30 million pilgrims are expected to arrive in Rome for the 2025 Jubilee Year.

Preparations are already underway in the city, including directly outside Vatican News’ offices, where a new pedestrian area is being constructed.

In the midst of all this, St. Peter’s Basilica has announced some preparations of its own for the Jubilee: two charity projects aimed at helping refugees and incarcerated people.

The projects

The first of these projects is entitled “Sea Rosaries” and is being organised in collaboration with the House of the Spirit and the Arts Foundation.

Two individuals with refugee backgrounds are working in St. Peter’s to build rosaries from the wood of boats used by migrants to reach Europe.

Moreover, some initial work in the construction of these rosaries is being carried out by individuals incarcerated in various prisons throughout Italy.

The second project is a collaboration with the Second Chance Association, a non-profit which works to offer employment opportunities to prisoners and ex-prisoners.

One inmate of Rome’s Rebibbia prison has been employed full-time as an electrician in the Basilica for several months, and inmates in the Mammagialla prison in Viterbo have been tasked with making bags.

Press conference

At a press conference held in the Vatican on Tuesday, Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, the Archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, discussed the relationship between the upcoming Jubilee and the Basilica’s new charity projects.

According to the Mosaic law, he said, Jubilees were to be held every fifty years in memory of the Jewish people’s escape from slavery in Egypt. In ancient times, he noted, Jubilees involved freeing slaves, forgiving debts, and leaving land untilled in order to let it regenerate.

These practices, Cardinal continued – like the Basilica’s new social projects – promoted a spirit of solidarity and the dream of giving everyone a second chance.

Also present at the press conference were Flavia Filippi and Arnoldo Mondadori, the founders of the “Second Chance” Association and the “House of the Spirit and the Arts,” respectively, as well as Giovanni Russo, the head of Italy’s Department for the Administration of Prisons.

Both Filippi and Russo suggested that the partnership between St. Peter’s and the Second Chance Association would continue to grow, with Russo describing the employment of one electrician in St. Peter’s as a “first step” toward further collaboration.