Plenary indulgences during Year of Faith

November 5, 2012

During the Year of Faith, Catholics are asked to study and reflect on the documents of Vatican II and the catechism so that they may deepen their knowledge of the faith. In this occasion to renew our call to holiness, the Holy Father has also announced the Church's offering of the gift of indulgences as an opportunity to open ourselves to the purity of heart and the penitential spirit associated with this year of grace.

In a letter to the faithful for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo outlines the conditions required for plenary indulgences, as well as special dates for receiving the graces and designated places of pilgrimage. See the letter below.



To the Faithful of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston:

Pope Benedict XVI has inaugurated a Year of Faith. It is a beautiful occasion for us to dedicate ourselves to the deepening of faith and to increasing the knowledge of our faith. It is an occasion to renew our call to holiness. Our Holy Father has also announced the Church's offering of the gift of indulgences as an opportunity to open ourselves to the purity of heart and the penitential spirit associated with this year of grace.

During the Year of Faith, which continues until November 24, 2013, plenary indulgence for the temporal punishment of sins may be gained for the benefit of oneself or for the souls of the faithful departed. The gaining of indulgences requires certain prescribed conditions, most notably that the person: 1) possesses an interior disposition of detachment from sin, 2) celebrates the Sacrament of Reconciliation, 3) receives the Holy Eucharist, 4) prays for the intentions of the Holy Father, and 5) recites the Profession of Faith. For a more comprehensive explanation of the Church's teaching on the practice of indulgences and their necessary prescriptions, please refer to the Cathechism of the Catholic Church Nos. 1471-1484 and the USCCB website. It is worth noting that the conditions for an indulgence require a proper spiritual disposition and not a mechanical observance of prescribed actions.

An individual forms a proper interior disposition for attaining the indulgence by spending a period of time in prayer and meditation. This time in prayer may be done in one of the designated places of pilgrimages in the Archdiocese. During the Year of Faith, the following churches are designated as pilgrimage sites:
On any day during the Year of Faith, the faithful may attain an indulgence: December 8 (Immaculate Conception), Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12), February 22 (Chair of St. Peter), March 19 (St. Joseph), June 7 (Solemnity of the Sacred Heart), September 14 (Exaltation of the Cross), and October 11 (Anniversary of the Inauguration of the Second Vatican Council).

Please note that those who, due to illness or other legitimate reason, are unable to leave their place of residence may nonetheless obtain a plenary indulgence by uniting themselves in spirit with the faithful and offering their prayers and suffering in accord with the objectives of the Year of Faith.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo
Archbishop of Galveston-Houston