The year 2016 will be an important time for pilgrims to visit the city, along with Santiago de Compostela. Both cities will be holding especial events which visitors will find enthralling. Santiago Cathedral officials have also confirmed the Holy Door of the cathedral (Porta Santa) will be open for the Year of Mercy.

What is a Holy Year?

The idea is that a Holy Year offers opportunities for spiritual growth and takes place every 25 years. Interestingly, in Santiago de Compostela, a year is considered ‘Holy’ or Jacobean if 25th July, Saint James Day, falls on a Sunday.

The 2016 Holy Year of Mercy will be officially starting on 8th December 2015 the day Roman Catholics celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception. During the celebration Pope Francis will open the Holy Door in St Peter’s Basilica, which is usually bricked up. It will end on 20th November 2016 which is the feast of Christ the King.

What happens during a Holy Year?

During the Holy Year the Vatican will be hosting special celebrations and millions of pilgrims will be arriving in Rome. The number of pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago are also expected to increase.

During the celebration Pope Francis will open the Holy Door for pilgrims. This door is the entrance to St Peter’s Basilica and is usually bricked up. It will end of on 20th November 2016 which is the feast of Christ the King.

Santiago de Compostela Cathedral has also confirmed the Porta Santa will be open for pilgrims. Interestingly, the Cathedral will not be open to visitors again until 2021.

Fascinating self-guided tours are available throughout the year and guide tours can be booked on selected dates. It is worth checking out FrancigenaWays.com who runs a guided tour to Rome departing on 19th March (Easter time). CaminoWays.com has many departure dates for guided tours, from March through to the end of October.

There is no doubt that a pilgrimage to Rome during Holy Year 2016 will be a memorable experience offering time for reflection in today’s busy world.

Find out more about walking routes to Santiago de Compostela and Rome, and walking or cycling holidays for the Holy Year in 2016, by contacting the CaminoWays.com travel specialists: info@caminoways.com