Photo: CNS/L'Osservatore Romano
Pope Francis has granted a plenary indulgence opportunity for the 100th anniversary of the Fátima apparitions throughout the centennial year.
An indulgence is the remission in the eyes of God of the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven. The graces granted through an indulgence come from all the graces won for us by the saving works of Jesus Christ and the Communion of Saints.
Gaining a plenary (full) indulgence on behalf of a deceased person is a great act of mercy because it makes atonement for the punishment they are experiencing in purgatory; the person’s soul is then able to proceed to heaven. Remember, this is only possible because of the merits Christ won for us on the Cross; we are asking that those merits be applied to a loved one in need of them. If the indulgence is for yourself, you are working toward the remission of the temporal punishment for sins that, if left unremitted in this life, you will have to work toward in purgatory.
It can be applied either to oneself or to a deceased person, but not to other living persons.
A person seeking an indulgence must be baptized, not excommunicated, and in the state of grace when performing the work of the indulgence. A person also needs to have the sincere intention of gaining the indulgence before doing the particular work associated with it. (See #4 below.) The conditions listed below must be met in the required time frame as well.
Once per day is the limit, unless it is at the hour of death.
To receive a plenary indulgence for yourself or a departed loved one, the following five conditions must be fulfilled:
The three requirements may be met several days before or after doing the particular work of visiting the parish church and seeking the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima as described above. However, it is most fitting to receive Holy Communion and to pray for the pope’s intentions on the same day that the work is performed.
One confession is sufficient for several plenary indulgences, but you must receive Holy Communion, pray for the pope’s intentions, and do the action in #4 above for each indulgence that you want to gain.
Those faithful who are impeded by age, illness or other grave cause will also be able to obtain the plenary indulgence. They must detest each sin and have the intention of fulfilling as soon as possible the three usual conditions (Confession, Holy Communion, and prayer for the pope’s intentions). Also, in the presence of any small image of Fatima, they must spiritually unite themselves to the holy year prayer services or pilgrimages, offering with faith to our merciful God through the intercession of Mary their own prayers and sufferings, or the discomforts of their own life.