The newly released November edition of the Clergy Communications newsletter for the AOC has a great Q&A section on Pope Benedict’s plenary indulgence for the Year of Faith and what the Archdiocese of Cincinnati is doing to promote it:
Pope Benedict XVI will grant Plenary Indulgence during the Year of Faith (October 11, 2012 – November 24, 2013) to those faithful who follow the due norms and undertake the special prescripts to obtain them.
What is a Plenary Indulgence?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that, “An indulgence is obtained through the Church, who, by virtue of the power of binding and loosing granted her by Christ Jesus, intervenes in favor of individual Christians and opens for them the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishments due for their sins. Thus the Church does not want simply to come to the aid of these Christians, but also to spur them to works of devotion, penance, and charity (1478).” It goes on to state that the faithful may obtain indulgences for the faithful departed so that the “temporal punishments due for their sins may be remitted (1479).”
What are the due norms and special prescripts?
During the Year of Faith, Plenary Indulgence “may be obtained by all faithful who, truly penitent, take Sacramental Confession and the Eucharist and pray in accordance with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.”
“(A) Each time they attend at least three sermons during the Holy Missions, or at least three lessons on the Acts of the Council or the articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, church or any other suitable location.”
“(B) Each time they visit, in the course of a pilgrimage to a papal basilica, a Christian catacomb, a cathedral church or a holy site designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith…, and there participate in a sacred celebration, or at least remain for a congruous period of time in prayer and pious meditation, concluding with the recitation of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, and invocations to the Blessed Virgin Mary and, depending on the circumstances, to the Holy Apostles and patron saints.”
Archbishop Schnurr has designated four churches/holy sites in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati: The Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains (Cincinnati), St. Helen Church (Dayton), Holy Angels Church (Sidney), and the Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics (Maria Stein).
“(C) Each time that, on the days designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith…, in any sacred place, they participate in a solemn celebration of the Eucharist or the Liturgy of the Hours, adding thereto the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form.”
Archbishop Schnurr has designated the following days: First Friday/First Saturday of every month; the Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood (June 2, 2013); the Archdiocesan patronal feast days: St. Francis de Sales (January 24), St. Robert Bellarmine, (September 17), St. Albert the Great (November 15); and the Archdiocesan celebrations of the Year of Faith (September 29, 2013 at Cintas Center and October 6, 2013 at the University of Dayton Arena at 7:00 p.m.).
“(D) On any day they choose, during the Year of Faith, if they make a pious visit to the baptistery, or other place in which they received the Sacrament of Baptism, and there renew their baptismal promises in any legitimate form.”