Holy Jubilee Year of Mercy comes to an end

Pope Francis closes Holy Door on special Jubilee Year.

Pope Francis brought to a close the Catholic Church's Holy Jubilee Year of Mercy by shutting the Holy Door at St Peter's Basilica during a Mass on Sunday 20 November.

The Holy Door, which had been open for the last 11 months to offer pilgrims a chance to seek a general pardon for their sins, will now be sealed from the inside, as per tradition, until the next ordinary jubilee in 2025.

The pope celebrated the conclusion of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, and the Feast of Christ the King, in the presence of many of the world's cardinals, including the 17 new cardinals announced during a consistory on 19 November. The Italian president Sergio Mattarella, Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi, and Rome mayor Virginia Raggi were also in attendance.

Pope Francis said in his homily that although the year of special prayers was over people should never close "the doors of reconciliation and pardon."

Vatican officials claim that the Holy Year, which began on 8 December, drew roughly 20 million pilgrims to Rome, however many traders have expressed disappointment over the less-than-expected revenue generated by the “low-cost” visitors.

Highlights of the Jubilee included the canonisation of Mother Teresa, the arrival in Rome of the remains of Padre Pio, and the pope's historic visit to Rome's synagogue.

The disadvantaged and those seeking clemency were at the heart of the holy year however, with special masses and events held for prisoners, refugees, victims of sex trafficking, the sick, the elderly and vulnerable children.

The Jubilee launched just weeks after the Paris terror attacks by Islamic militants in November 2015, giving concern to security officials in Rome and the Vatican for the safety of pilgrims in the Eternal City. However, thanks to boosted numbers of police officers, soldiers and anti-terrorist squads, the Holy Year passed off peacefully.

The Holy Jubilee of Mercy is only the third since the tradition began 700 years ago.