As with other jubilee years, Pope Francis has instructed that special indulgences be available for the faithful through the duration of the Year of Mercy. An indulgence is:
“A remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints. An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin.” – (Catechism of the Catholic Church (No. 1471). Indulgences may be applied to the living or the dead.
The Holy Father describes how the faithful may receive an indulgence during the year of mercy in a Sept. 1 letter to Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.
Here’s how to receive one.
– Take a pilgrimage.
Make a journey to your local Holy Door or to one of the Holy Doors in the four papal basilicas in Rome. Crossing through a Holy Door is a spiritual journey that signals, as the Holy Father said, “the deep desire for true conversion.”
In our diocese, the Holy Door of Mercy is at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle in St. Petersburg.
Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle
5815 5th Ave North
St. Petersburg, FL 33710
The Holy Door is on the northwest side of the Cathedral. Park in the parking lot on Tyrone Blvd. The Holy Door is along the covered, circular, drop-off driveway.
– Go to confession.
– Receive the Holy Eucharist “with a reflection of mercy.”
– Make a profession of faith.
– Pray for the pope and for his intentions.
– Pope Francis said that they may obtain the indulgence by “living with faith and joyful hope this moment of trial,”
– Receiving the Eucharist
– Or by attending Mass and community prayer, “even through the various means of communication.”
– The incarcerated may obtain the indulgence in their prison chapels.
Pope Francis said, “May the gesture of directing their thought and prayer to the Father each time they cross the threshold of their cell signify for them their passage through the Holy Door, because the mercy of God is able to transform hearts, and is also able to transform bars into an experience of freedom.”
– Through the prayers of the faithful, indulgences may be obtained for the deceased.
– Perform a spiritual or corporal work of mercy. Pope Francis said that an indulgence may be obtained when a member of the “faithful personally performs” one of these merciful acts. “The experience of mercy, indeed, becomes visible in the witness of concrete signs as Jesus himself taught us,” he said.