Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz has established local provisions for Catholics to receive a plenary, or full, indulgence decreed by Pope Benedict XVI during the Year of Faith, which began Oct. 11 and will conclude on Nov. 24.
An indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment a person is due for sins that have been forgiven.
The plenary indulgence is available to pilgrims who visit certain sacred places, to those who take part in events connected to the Year of Faith, and to those who cannot physically participate for some serious reason.
It can be granted on behalf of the individual participant or on behalf of a departed soul.
Catholics in the Archdiocese of Louisville may receive a plenary indulgence in several ways during the Year of Faith:
- Every time they take part in at least three homilies or lectures on the proceedings of the Second Vatican Council and on the articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in a church or other “suitable” place, according to a decree issued by the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Office of Worship.
- Each time a Catholic makes a pilgrimage to a papal basilica, catacomb or cathedral church or another sacred space designated by the local bishop. In the Archdiocese of Louisville, the designated pilgrimage sites are: Cathedral of the Assumption, 433 S. Fifth St., Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral in Bardstown, Ky.; Church of the Annunciation in Shelbyville, Ky.; St. Augustine Church in Lebanon, Ky.; St. James Church in Elizabethtown, Ky.; and St. Helen Church in Glasgow, Ky.
While there, pilgrims should take part in “some sacred function” or at least pause in reflection “for some suitable length of time with devout meditation, concluding with the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, the Profession of Faith, invocations to the Blessed Mother, the apostles or patron saints,” the decree said.
- When, on certain days determined by the local bishop, Catholics take part in a solemn eucharistic celebration or Liturgy of the Hours and add the Profession of Faith. These dates in the Archdiocese of Louisville are: March 19, April 25, May 14, June 3, July 14, Aug. 8, Sept. 9, Oct. 1 and Nov. 13.
- Finally, when a Catholic “makes a devout visit to the bapistery or other place in which they received the Sacrament of Baptism” during the Year of Faith. The Catholic should “renew their baptismal promises in the prescribed form,” the decree said.
In addition, the decree signed by the Archbishop of Louisville says that people who are repentant, but unable to take part in these celebrations for some serious reason, may also gain a plenary indulgence. The Catholic must be “united in mind and spirit with the faithful present, especially at a monent when the words of the pope or the archbishop are broadcast via the television or radio,” the decree said. They should also recite the Lord’s Prayer, Profession of Faith and other prayers “in conformity with the objectives of the Year of Faith, offering up their suffering or the hardship in their lives.”
Pope Benedict established the Year of Faith, “dedicated to the profession of the true faith and its correct interpretation,” to be Oct. 11, 2012, to Nov. 24, 2013. Oct. 11 marked the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Nov. 24 will be the feast of Christ the King.