The Preparation for the Great Jubilee
Second Vatican Council
Pope John Paul II
Remote Preparation
Immediate Preparation
1997- The Year of Jesus
1998 - The Year of the Holy Spirit
1999 - the Year of the Father
The Second Vatican Council

God’s Providence has provided for the Church’s celebration of the Great Jubilee. Pope John Paul II, acting as the Successor of St. Peter and reading the signs of the times, states that the Council was

"a providential event whereby the Church began the more immediate preparation for the Jubilee."*

It was 

"a Council similar to other ones but very different; it was a Council focused on the mystery of Christ and his Church, and at the same time open to the world."

The Second Vatican Council was, as it were, an evangelical response to a century which showed the world’s need for purification and   conversion, two features that are key to understanding the nature of the Great Jubilee.

Among the accomplishments of the Second Vatican Council were that 

- it prophetically proclaimed Christ, the redeemer of man, who takes away the sin of the world
- it looked anew at the Church’s identity as Body of Christ and Bride of Christ
- it reaffirmed the universal call to holiness, that sanctity is attainable by every Catholic, indeed every human being
- it provided for the reform of the liturgy, and especially for the laity to assume their proper liturgical role
- it lead to the renewal of structures at the universal and local levels of the Church
- it promoted a proper appreciation of the various vocations in the Church (lay, religious, deacons, priests, bishops)
- it "rediscovered" episcopal collegiality as the way to live the Church as Communion
- it spoke clearly as no Council before had on: Christian unity, on dialogue with non-Christian religions, on the meaning of the Old Covenant and of Israel, on the the dignity of the person’s conscience and on religious liberty, on carrying out the Church’s mission in different cultures, on the means of social communication

In summary, the Holy Father tells us that

"(t)he Council’s enormously rich body of teaching and the striking new tone in the way it presented this content constitute as it were a proclamation of new times." 

Therefore, the Council's teaching is "the best preparation for the approach of the new millennium..." What is asked of the Church in the Third Millennium of the Christian era is

"a renewed commitment to apply, as fully as possible, the teachings of Vatican II to the life of every individual and of the whole Church."

*all citations are from the Apostolic Letter Tertio Millenio Adveniente announcing the Great Jubilee.

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