Pope Francis has granted two indulgences as part of the bicentennial jubilee of the Diocese of Richmond, which will conclude on Jan. 17, 2021.
An indulgence 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 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 this jubilee: the Basilica of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Norfolk; the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Richmond; and St. Andrew Church, Roanoke. While there, pilgrims should pray, at a minimum, the Our Father, the Creed, and prayers associated with the Virgin Mary, e.g., 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 Nov. 7 Mass for the Eucharistic Congress. The indulgence may also be obtained by the faithful who participate in the Mass via livestream.
Several conditions for the indulgence 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.
Editor’s note: More information about the diocesan bicentennial, including the Eucharistic Congress, can be found at https://2020.richmonddiocese.org.
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