HomeFrom RomeIndulgences for the Year of Faith: how and why to gain them
From Rome

Indulgences for the Year of Faith: how and why to gain them

Tags: Communion of saints, Year of Faith
In December 1931 St Josemaria wrote:

“When a childlike soul presents before the Lord her desires for indulgences, she should feel sure that she will soon see those desires fulfilled: Jesus will sweep away from the soul the burden of her past failings; he will take away the remains of all the impurities that weigh her down to the ground; he will cast out all the earthly jetsam from her heart, so that she can rise up to the majesty of God, to dissolve in the living flame of Love that He is.”

And some days later, he followed this up with an appeal to God: “I want Jesus to grant me… a total indulgence. So that all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, purified in less than a second, go up to rejoice in our God.”

The Holy Father recommends the faithful to gain Plenary Indulgences in remission of the temporal punishment for their sins, imparted through God’s mercy and applicable in suffrage to the souls of the deceased, during the Year of Faith (from 11 October 2012 to 24 November 2013).

Benedict XVI giving the Apostolic Blessing
Benedict XVI giving the Apostolic Blessing
A Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary of the Holy See explains how to gain them (download in PDF format).

What conditions are needed to gain indulgences?
To gain an indulgence, a member of the faithful needs to be truly repentant, to have duly received the Sacraments of Penance (within a fortnight) and Holy Communion (that day), and to pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff (usually the Our Father and the Creed).

How can we gain the Plenary Indulgence for the Year of Faith?
A member of the faithful, subject to the conditions above, can gain the Plenary Indulgence:

a) every time they attend at least three homilies or lectures on the Second Vatican Council and on the Articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in any church or suitable place;

b) every time they go as pilgrims to a Papal Basilica, a Christian catacomb, a cathedral church, a sacred place designated by the local Ordinary, and take part there in some sacred function or at least pause in recollection for a suitable length of time with devout meditation;

c) on the days determined by the diocesan Bishop;

d) a day freely chosen to make a devout visit to the baptistery or other place in which they received the sacrament of Baptism, if they renew their baptismal promises in any legitimate form.

Can sick people gain the Indulgences?
The Decree of the Holy See states that the faithful who are truly repentant and who, “for serious reasons”, cannot leave the place where they reside, can obtain the plenary indulgence if, “united in mind and spirit with the faithful present, especially at a moment when the words of the Supreme Pontiff or of the Diocesan Bishops are broadcast via the television or radio, they recite (...) the Our Father, the Profession of faith in any legitimate form and other prayers in conformity with the objectives of the Year of Faith, offering up their suffering or the hardship in their lives.”

Decree of the Prelate of Opus Dei
Benedict XVI with Bishop Javier Echevarria, Prelate of Opus Dei
Benedict XVI with Bishop Javier Echevarria, Prelate of Opus Dei

The Prelate of Opus Dei has duly issued a decree specifying ways of gaining a Plenary Indulgence during the Year of Faith .

a) By going on pilgrimage to the Prelatic Church of Our Lady of Peace in Rome, take part there in a sacred ceremony, or spend time in prayer, finishing with the Our Father, the Creed and the invocation of Our Blessed Lady and Saint Josemaria.

The Prelatic Church of Our Lady of Peace, Rome. Going from the entrance to the place where St Josemaria Escriva is buried
The Prelatic Church of Our Lady of Peace, Rome. Going from the entrance to the place where St Josemaria Escriva is buried
b) On the following days, by taking part in a solemn Eucharistic celebration and saying the Creed:
25-11-2012 Christ the King
28-11-2012 Establishment of Opus Dei as a Personal Prelature
30-11-2012 Saint Andrew, Apostle
8-12-2012 Immaculate Conception
25-12-2012 The Nativity of the Lord
27-12-2012 St John the Evangelist
1-01-2013 Our Lady, Mother of God
6-01-2013 The Epiphany of the Lord
14-02-2013 The founding of the women’s branch of Opus Dei and of the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross
19-03-2013 St Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary
31-03-2013 The Resurrection of the Lord
8-04-2013 The Annunciation of the Lord
20-04-2013 Election and appointment of the Prelate of Opus Dei
2-05-2013 Dedication of the Prelatic Church in Rome
3-05-2013 Sts Philip and James, Apostles
12-05-2013 The Ascension of the Lord
14-05-2013 St Mathias, Apostle
19-05-2013 Pentecost
26-05-2013 The Blessed Trinity
2-06-2013 The Sacred Body and Blood of the Lord
7-06-2013 The Sacred Heart of Jesus
11-06-2013 St Barnabas, Apostle
26-06-2013 St Josemaria
29-06-2013 Sts Peter and Paul, Apostles
16-07-2013 Our Lady of Mount Carmel
25-07-2013 St James, Apostle
15-08-2013 The Assumption of our Lady
24-08-2013 St Bartholomew, Apostle
14-09-2013 The Exaltation of the Holy Cross
21-09-2013 St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist
29-09-2013 Sts Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels
2-10-2013 The Holy Guardian Angels. Anniversary of the founding of Opus Dei
28-10-2013 Sts Simon and Jude, Apostles
24-11-2013 Christ the King

c) By receiving the Blessing with Plenary Indulgence to be imparted by the Prelate at the solemn celebration of the feast of St Josemaria, June 26, 2013.

What does the word “indulgence” mean? What does the Catholic Church say about indulgences? What is eternal punishment? What is temporal punishment? Who grants indulgences? To find out, click here.

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