Posted by: liturgicalyear | November 15, 2013

There’s Still Time for a Plenary Indulgence

Today’s post is a reprint of one I wrote earlier about the Plenary Indulgence available to all through the end of this Year of Faith, which ends on November 24, now just 9 short days away.

Whatever your circumstances, I encourage you to make time over the next week to observe the Indulgence and to make the sacrifice to obtain its grace. It can be pretty easy to do, and in many cases takes mostly a decision to act and then to follow through.

The Church offers us an immeasurable gift.  Let’s reach out with great confidence and say, “Yes,” to the invitation.

Holy Souls in Purgatory, pray for us!  Anne

On October 11, 2012, Our Holy FatherPope Benedict, declared the coming year, the Year of Faith.  In doing so, he calls all Catholics to learn and to know their faith – to grow intellectually in understanding of the richness of the Truth the Church gives us.   Along with this invitation and challenge, he announced a special plenary indulgence for the faithful.

So what exactly is a plenary indulgence? Catholic Online does a good job explaining:

An indulgence is defined as “the remission before God of the temporal punishment due for sins already forgiven as far as their guilt is concerned.” The first thing to note is that forgiveness of a sin is separate from punishment for the sin. Through sacramental confession we obtain forgiveness, but we aren’t let off the hook as far as punishment goes.

Indulgences are two kinds: partial and plenary. A partial indulgences removes part of the temporal punishment due for sins. A plenary indulgence removes all of it. This punishment may come either in this life, in the form of various sufferings, or in the next life, in purgatory. What we don’t get rid of here we suffer there.

So when we make a plenary indulgence, we work off our time in purgatory! Does it get any better than that??????

The next obvious question is “So what do you have to do?”  From the USCCB:

“Since the primary objective is to develop sanctity of life to the highest degree possible on this earth, and thus to attain the most sublime level of pureness of soul, immense benefit may be derived from the great gift of Indulgences which, by virtue of the power conferred upon her by Christ, the Church offers to everyone who, following the due norms, undertakes the special prescripts to obtain them”.

“During the Year of Faith, which will last from 11 October 2012 to 24 November 2013, Plenary Indulgence for the temporal punishment of sins, imparted by the mercy of God and applicable also to the souls of deceased faithful, may be obtained by all faithful who, truly penitent, take Sacramental Confession and the Eucharist and pray in accordance with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.

Each time they attend

  • at least three sermons during the Holy Missions, or
  • at least three lessons on the Acts of the Council or the articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in church or any other suitable location.

Each time they visit, in the course of a pilgrimage,

  • a papal basilica,
  • a Christian catacomb,
  • a cathedral church or
  • a holy site designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith (for example, minor basilicas and shrines dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Apostles or patron saints),

and there participate

  • in a sacred celebration, or
  • at least remain for a congruous period of time in prayer and pious meditation,

concluding with the recitation of

  • the Our Father,
  • the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, and
  • invocations to the Blessed Virgin Mary and,
  • depending on the circumstances, to the Holy Apostles and patron saints.

Each time that, on the days designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith, in any sacred place,

  • they participate in a solemn celebration of the Eucharist or
  • the Liturgy of the Hours,

adding thereto the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form.

On any day they chose, during the Year of Faith,

  • if they make a pious visit to the baptistery, or other place in which they received the Sacrament of Baptism, and there renew their baptismal promises in any legitimate form.”

The conditions for the plenary indulgence are the typical requirements for all indulgences: that the person

  • goes to confession (within 8 days),
  • receives the Eucharist and
  • prays for the intentions of the pope.

The homebound may also earn the indulgence and it may be granted on behalf of the departed (but not for another living person).

Consult the website of your local diocese to find any sites designated by your bishop as Year of Faith pilgrimage sites.

I made my first plenary indulgence on November 12th while on pilgrimmage in Fatima with my daughter.  Upon leaving the adoration chapel after going to confession and thus completing the indulgence, I looked at her with a twinkle in my eye and said, “If we died now, we’d go straight to heaven!!!” I plan to make it again for myself and for others.  Never miss an opportunity for grace, I say!

The good news is, though, that you don’t have to go to Fatima to receive the indulgence.  All options are local, even going back to the Church of your baptism and renewing your baptismal promise.  It couldn’t be simpler!  Don’t miss this opportunity – for yourself and for those who have gone before us in death.  We can literally pray those we love into heaven.

Finally, if you know someone who needs help getting to a pilgrimage site – whether due to physical restrictions or reluctance, offer to help them get there.  The reward is eternal!!

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!  Anne

PS:  I thought you might find this article intersting: Introduction to Indulgences

PPS: For those of you in the Boston Archdiocese, here are a couple of useful links:  Year Of Faith Boston,  Catholic Shrines of New England


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