For the first time in Camino history the Xacobeo Holy Year has been extended.
In 2021 the Archdiocese of Santiago de Compostela requested an extension of the Holy Year. Pope Francis was happy to comply and there are even rumours that he may make a trip to Compostela in 2022.
What is a Xacobeo Holy Year?
A Xacobeo Holy Year is when the Feast of Saint James the Greater, July 25th, falls on a Sunday. This is the date in which Saint James suffered his martyrdom in the year 44 AD. Xacobeo Holy Years occur every 11, 6, 5, 6 years in succession.
‘The Martyrdom of Saint James the Greater’ by Zurbarán. Prado Museum, Madrid.
Why has the Holy Year been extended?
Because of the impact of the pandemic on the event and on the pilgrimage.
When is the next Holy Year?
The next Holy Year will be in 2027.
Why is it called Xacobeo?
Xacobeo is the Galician word for Jacobean, and James is an alternate form of the name Jacob (or Iacobus in Latin).
What does a Holy Year mean for Catholics?
During the Holy Year, the Church institutes a special period of grace in which pilgrims may obtain plenary indulgence for the forgiveness of any sins committed.
What happens during a Holy Year?
A Holy Year begins with the reopening of the Holy Door at the Cathedral. This door is sealed with a brick wall between Holy Years. This entrance is found to the east and is accessed from the Praza de Quintana. Pilgrims of all faiths and beliefs should enter the Cathedral through this door.
At night, the beacon on the Berenguela Tower remains lit for the duration of the Holy Year, symbolically showing the way to pilgrims arriving to the city.
After the Xacobeo fiasco of 2021, locals and pilgrims alike will be geared towards making up for lost time and opportunities. During most of 2021 the Camino was virtually closed and even the Feast Day of Saint James was celebrated at a low key with significant restrictions. Everything indicates that 2022 will be different, and locals and pilgrims are ready to celebrate the Camino and the saint who unintentionally put the pilgrimage on the map.
No, you are not guaranteed to see the botafumeiro at Mass during a Holy Year, but the chances increase exponentially.