AN OPPORTUNITY FOR JUBILEE MERCY:
TWO BICENTENNIAL INDULGENCES
October 19, 2020
By Father Anthony E. Marques
Pope Francis has granted two indulgences as part of the bicentennial jubilee of the Diocese of Richmond (1820–2020), which will conclude on January 17, 2021. Jubilee years in the Old Testament, as well as holy years in the Church, emphasize mercy.
An indulgence (Latin: indulgentia, meaning “kindness”) is one way to cleanse the “residue” of sin. The Church defines an indulgence as “the remission before God of temporal punishment for sins whose guilt is already forgiven” (Code of Canon Law, canon 992). Temporal punishment helps free a sinner from earthly (temporal) desires. In granting an indulgence, the Church pays a person’s debt of temporal punishment by drawing on the infinite value of Christ’s suffering, along with the good works, sufferings, and prayers of the Virgin Mary and all the saints.
The first bicentennial indulgence is available to the faithful who make a pilgrimage to any of three historic churches in the diocese during the current jubilee: the Basilica of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Norfolk, the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Richmond, and St. Andrew Church in Roanoke. While there, pilgrims should pray, at a minimum, the Our Father, the Creed, and prayers associated with the Virgin Mary (for example, the Hail Mary).
This indulgence also extends to “the elderly, and all the sick who, for a serious reason, are not able to leave their home… if they have joined themselves spiritually to the Jubilee celebrations, and by offering their prayers, sorrows, and injuries of one’s own life to the merciful God.”
The second indulgence is attached to the Papal Blessing that Bishop Barry C. Knestout will impart at the conclusion of the Mass for the Eucharistic Congress. That Mass will be celebrated at St. Peter’s Church in Richmond on November 7, 2020. The indulgence may also be obtained by the faithful who participate in the Mass via livestream.
As with any indulgence, several conditions must be fulfilled, if possible, within approximately one month after the private pilgrimage or the Mass for the Eucharistic Congress: repentance for sin, a desire to love God and neighbor more, reception of Holy Communion, sacramental confession, and prayer for the intentions of the pope.
The bicentennial indulgences provide a singular way to celebrate our jubilee and they express the closeness of Pope Francis to the Diocese of Richmond.
General Indulgence Decree
Prot. N. 1600/19/I
An APOSTOLIC PENITENTIARY, for the increase of the religion of the faithful and the salvation of souls, by a most special faculty presently his own, His Holiness Father in Christ and Our Lord, Lord Francis by Divine Providence, Pope, attentive to the prayers recently relayed from His Excellency Father Lord Christoph Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio in the United States of America, gladly grants the request of His Excellency, the Bishop of Richmond, on this the two-hundredth anniversary of the diocese, from the heavenly treasure of the Church benevolently granting a plenary Indulgence, under the customary conditions (sacramental Confession, Eucharistic Communion, and prayers for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff) to the Christian faithful truly penitent and also gaining compelled by charity, moreover in addition, they are by this able to apply suffrages for the souls of the faithful held in purgatory if: to the Cathedral church of Richmond; to the Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Norfolk; to the church of Saint Andrew in Roanoke they visit in the form of a pilgrimage and devoutly participate in the jubilant celebrations, or at least while accordingly in that place conclude the Lord’s Prayer, the Symbol of Faith, and prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The elderly, and all the sick who, for a serious reason, are not able to leave their home are likewise able to obtain the Plenary Indulgence, having a firm intention and rejection of each and every sin, and where possible, fulfilling the three customary conditions, if they have joined themselves spiritually to the Jubilee celebrations, and by offering their prayers, sorrows, and injuries of one’s own life to the merciful God .
Therefore, so that access may more easily happen on behalf of pastoral charity for obtaining the Divine favor through the Keys of the Church, this Penitentiary earnestly begs that the Diocesan Penitentiary, Cathedral clergy, pastors and priests endowed with the appropriate faculties for hearing Confessions, with a prompt and generous spirit, offer themselves for the celebration of Penance.
This is currently valid for the entire Richmond Jubilee. Anything whatsoever acting to the contrary notwithstanding.
Given in Rome, from the seat of the Apostolic Penitentiary, on the 6th day of the month of October, in the year of the Incarnation of the Lord 2020.
Maurus Card. Piacenza, Major Penitentiary
Christophorus Nykiel, Regent
Papal Blessing Indulgence Decree
Prot. N. 1601/19/I
The Apostolic Penitentiary, by means of a specially conceded faculty from His Holiness our Father in Christ and our Lord, Lord Francis, by divine providence named Pope, graciously concedes to the Most Reverend Father Barry C. Knestout, Bishop of Richmond, that on the 7th day of November 2020, at the solemn Eucharistic Congress, after the divine Sacrifice is concluded, may extend to all the Christian faithful who, moved with true penitence and compelled by charity, the Papal Blessing conjoint with a plenary indulgence provided the customary conditions are met (sacramental confession, eucharistic Communion and prayer for the intention of the Supreme Pontiff).
The Christian Faithful who would accept devoutly this Papal Blessing but in reasonable circumstances cannot be present in person for the sacred rites, may validly obtain the same blessing and, if they attend the same rites as they occur either by means of television or radio with a pious intention, the plenary indulgence according to the norm of law.
Everything to the contrary notwithstanding.
Given in Rome, from the seat of the Apostolic Penitentiary, on the 6th day of the month of October, in the year of the incarnation of the Lord 2020.
Maurus Card. Piacenza,