Patricia A. Merlo, M.P.M.

To experience and obtain the Jubilee [Plenary] Indulgence, the faithful are called to make a brief  pilgrimage to pass through the Holy Door, open in every Cathedral or in the churches designated by the Diocesan Bishop.
(Pope Francis, Letter to Archbishop Rino Finichella, 1September 2015)

(For the complete text of Pope Francis’ letter about the Jubilee of Mercy click here.)

Additionally, in celebration of the 800 year anniversary of the Dominican Order, “the Jubilee Year with the attached plenary indulgence, is granted to the faithful who visit Dominican Churches and/or places of worship when they meditate before the Blessed Sacrament for a suitable period of time, concluding with the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, the Jubilee prayer, and the invocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Most Holy Rosary.” (Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, Apostolic Penitentiary, Prot. N. 16/15/1)

Sick and Elderly
The sick and elderly who are unable to go on pilgrimage may receive the Jubilee Indulgence by "living with faith and joyful hope this moment of trial and receiving communion or attending Holy Mass and community prayer, even through the various means of communication."

Those in Prison
Those who are incarcerated, "may obtain the Indulgence in the chapels of the prisons." The Holy Father adds: "May the gesture of directing their thought and prayer to the Father each time they cross the threshold of their cell signify for them their passage through the Holy Door, because the mercy of God is able to transform hearts, and is also able to transform bars into an experience of freedom."

The Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy

I have asked the Church in this Jubilee Year to rediscover the richness encompassed by the seven Corporal Works of Mercy (feed the hungry; give drink to the thirsty; dress the naked; house the pilgrims; visit the sick; visit the imprisoned, bury the dead) and the seven Spiritual Works of Mercy (advise those in doubt; teach the ignorant; admonish sinners; console the afflicted; forgive offenses; be patient with annoying people; pray to God for both the living and the dead.) The experience of mercy, indeed, becomes visible in the witness of the concrete signs as Jesus himself taught us. Each time that one of the faithful personally performs one or more of these actions, he or she shall surely obtain the Jubilee Indulgence.
(Pope Francis, Letter to Archbishop Rino Finichella, 1September 2015)

The Deceased
The Holy Father reminds us that we may gain the Jubilee Indulgence
not only for ourselves, but for the deceased as well. He writes, " ... as we remember them in the Eucharistic celebration, thus we can, in the great mystery of the Communion of Saints, pray for them, [that] the merciful Face of the Father free them of every remnant of fault and strongly embrace them in the unending beatitude."

“Though we feel the transforming power of grace, we also feel the effects of sin typical of our fallen state. Despite being forgiven, the conflicting consequences of our sins remain. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, God forgives our sins, which he truly blots out; and yet sin leaves a negative effect on the way we think and we act. But the mercy of God is stronger even than this. It becomes indulgence on the part of the Father who, through the Bride of Christ, his Church, reaches the pardoned sinner and frees him from every residue left by the consequences of sin, enabling him to act with charity, to grow in love rather than fall back into sin.” (Pope Francis, The Bull of Indiction 22)


“If we look at our society, it seems to me that there is no lack of opportunities all around us. What should we do for the homeless man, for the poor man who has nothing to eat, for the neighboring family who cannot make it to the end of the month due to the recession, because the husband has lost his job? How should we behave with the immigrants who have survived the crossing and who land on our shores? What should we do for the elderly who are alone, abandoned, and who have no one? ….That is where we find our God, that is where we touch the Lord.  Jesus himself told us, explaining the protocol for which we will all be judged: ‘whatever you did for one of these least brothers, you did it for me.’” (Mt 25:40) (Pope Francis, The Name of God is Mercy, pp. 98 – 99) 


Conditions for Gaining a Plenary Indulgence:

* Renounce all attachment to sin

* Follow these conditions:

  1. Go to Confession (within 8 days before or after the visit)
  2. Receive Holy Communion
  3. Make a Profession of Faith
  4. Pray the Jubilee Prayer (or, at least an Our Father for the intentions of the Pope)
  5. In Dominican Churches, add “Mary, Queen of the Rosary, pray for us.”

*  May be obtained once per day.  If any condition is lacking, the indulgence will be partial.

  • From Norm 20:
    A single sacrament confession suffices for several plenary indulgences but receiving Communion and praying for the intention for the Holy Father are required for each indulgence. While the three conditions may be fulfilled several days before or after the performance of the indulgenced work (generally 8 days before or after), it is fitting that Communion be received and the prayer for the intention of the Holy Father be said on the same day.
  • "An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1471)

    "Every sin has consequences. It disrupts our communion with God and the Church, weakens our ability to resist temptation, and hurts others. The necessity of healing these consequences, once the sin itself has been forgiven, is called temporal punishment. Prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and other works of charity can take away entirely or diminish this temporal punishment. Because of the fullness of redemption obtained for us by Christ, the Church attaches to certain prayers and actions an indulgence or pardon, that is, the full or partial remission of temporal punishment due to sin. Christ, acting through the Church, brings about the healing of the consequences of sin when an individual uses such a prayer or engages in such action." (US Catholic Catechism for Adults, 244)

©2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 Patty Merlo