Importance and uniqueness of this concession
On 9th January 1998 the Holy See granted the perpetual celebration of a Holy Year on account of the devotion to the True Cross, in a similar way to the traditional concessions to Santiago de Compostela and Santo Toribio de Liebana. The first Jubilee was held in 2003, recurring every seven years, so it was celebrated again in 2010.
The uniqueness and relevance of this concession lies in the way the value and importance of the Cross and its devotion are encouraged.
Caravaca de la Cruz differs from the other four cities with similar concessions – Jerusalem, Rome, Santiago de Compostela and Santo Toribio de Liebana- since the jubilee can be obtained on any day and any year, as long as the pilgrimage is made collectively to the Basilica.
This singular fact has marked an unquestionable new milestone in the development of the Cross Christian devotion, the future outreach of Caravaca de la Cruz and its Basilica.
Major reasons leading to this privilege
Among the reasons that have originated the concession, it is worth mentioning a religious fact, the presence of the Holy and True Cross in this land since the XIII Century, whose significance dates back in Spanish, Murcian and this city history. Its Eastern origin has been indeed verified and the religious tradition and Christian faith consider that three pieces of the “Lignum Crucis” where Christ died are truly deposited here.
This fact has meant a development, for seven centuries, of a continuous rooted religious rite within the heart of the Christian faith and accepted by the Catholic Church, to the extent of having assigned by the Vatican the ritual of “Latria” (the XIII Century), which is only owed to the Holy Communion.
This reality goes beyond the mere local, regional, provincial –and even national- limits, placing Caravaca in a relevant spot of religious reference, with its utmost height in the XVI, XVII and XVIII Centuries, periods when the true religious nature of the Holy and True Cross prevails, in opposition to other natures attributed later- magical religious, superstitious or esoteric.
The regenerated faith around the Holy Relic promotes real trends of pilgrimage towards its Sanctuary from the most remote places of the Spanish geography, mainly during the mentioned centuries and before. T o such extent that in the heart of the XVI Century, there was a hospital in town – Hospital del Buen Suceso- whose main aim was to assist pilgrims.
Likewise, the Illustrious Fellowship of the Holy and True Cross was formed with the aim of promoting, spreading and maintaining the worshipping to the True Cross, whose origins, evidenced in documents back to the Middle Ages, and even on the XVII Century it was canonically established, according to the Constitutions of Pope Clement VIII and Paulo V. An example of the value of the mentioned pilgrimages can be seen in also declared jubilees of the XVI and XVII Centuries that were held by reason of the festivities of the Cross -May, July and September. Also, the actual request that the Fellowship forwarded to the Pope Alexander VII in 1663, asking for permission to admit people from different parts of Spain as fellow members, became a fact.
There are two more reasons that justify the basis for this ecclesiastic concession of the Holy Year. The first is the fact that in 1981 a Holy Year was granted to Caravaca for the 750th Anniversary of the Appearance of the True Cross in Caravaca, and later in 1996, another granted Holy Year brought to our town more than 700 000 pilgrims. Secondly, there is a wish to show the real meaning of the True Cross of Caravaca as a symbol of Christian Faith at a national extent, in opposition to the lately plain spreading, sometimes not religious, in Spain.
Conditions to receive the grace of the Jubilee
The conditions for the pilgrims to receive the Jubilee are the following:
- To visit and take part in any celebration at the Sanctuary of the Holy and True Cross of Caravaca, with devotion and intention to gain the Jubilee, and praying for the intents of the Pope.
- In the event of not being able to participate in one of the celebrations, you should visit the Sanctuary and pray for world peace and intents of the Pope (Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, etc.).
- Sacramental Confession and Communion. It is not essential to receive both sacraments in the Sanctuary or on the day of the visit. They can occur a few days before or after the pilgrimage to the Temple of the Cross, in another church or the actual parish of the worshippers in pilgrimage.
Dates for receiving the Jubilee
The permanent concession of indulgences along every Holy Year to believers and pilgrims that visit the Basilica-Sanctuary of the Holy and True Cross is fixed as follows:
- Those days every seven years when the solemn opening and closure of the Holy Year takes places, and other days of the same year when the Bishop presides any solemn rite.
- Once a year in the chosen day by believers.
- Every 3rd May and 14th September, these are the festivities of the Appearance and the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
- Royal and Illustrious Fellowship of the Holy and True Cross (Oficina de la Real e Ilustre Cofradía de la Santisima y Vera Cruz): +34 968707528.
- Local Tourist Office (Oficina Local de Turismo): +34 968702424.
- Basilica-Sanctuary of the Holy and True Cross (Basilica-Santuario de la Santisima y Vera Cruz): +34 968707743.