The Vatican estimates that more than 400,000 people have passed through the Holy Door in St. Peter's Basilica since it was opened on December 8th. It also suggests that even more will do so during the Christmas season.
Many people are crossing the Holy Door on their own. But many others, especially those in groups, are visiting the Jubilee's office. There they receive free information and audio guides with spiritual reflections to prepare them for the great moment when they finally pass through.
"There are five people in our group. Two of us are from Sicily, two from England, and one from Milan.”
Salvatore and his family contacted the Jubilee office through the internet. They wrote to them and found where it's located, just a few feet from St. Peter's Square. They gave them this cross, some brochures, and an audio guide. They then escorted them to Castel Sant'Angelo. From there they have made a short pilgrimage, a small symbolic journey in a straight line to the Vatican, where they crossed the Holy Door.
After leaving the basilica, they had just one thing left to do: get a document certifying their pilgrimage.
"It has been a very positive experience. We have prayed and participated in Mass, also we could reflect on the faith and receive Communion. Afterward, we went out to see the Nativity scene in St. Peter's Square. It has been a very beautiful experience.”
The document is not necessary for indulgence, nor is it needed to perform this process. The Vatican simply proposed that it could be a valuable tool. It helps prepare the climax of reconciliation with God after the Holy Door is crossed and the conditions for obtaining a plenary indulgence are met. Those include Communion, Confession, praying for the Pope's intentions and inwardly manifesting the firm rejection of any small sins.