Tag Archives: indulgence

Praying for the dead, All Souls

My soul is deprived of peace, I have forgotten what happiness is; I tell myself my future is lost, all that I hoped for from the Lord. (Lamentations 3:17)
These words are put on our lips at the funeral liturgy. We understand these words at the depths of our being not only at the time of someone’s death, but for many, many days ahead in dealing with the loss of a loved one. Time without the decedent can seem ugly, deprived, and hopeless. The author of Lamentations has it right: life can be very bleak. This would indeed be desperate if these words were the only ones we heard and remembered.
This reading from Lamentations also says, My portion is the Lord, says my soul; therefore will I hope in him. Good is the Lord to one who waits for him, to the soul that seeks him; It is good to hope in silence for the saving help of the Lord.

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First Thursday Plenary Indulgence for Lay Faithful for Year for Priests

St Vianney.jpg

In response to questions about the Plenary Indulgence for
the Year for Priests, the decree says that, “all truly penitent
priests”–having confessed their sins and received Holy Communion–may
obtain a Plenary Indulgence each day by devoutly praying Lauds or Vespers
before the Blessed Sacrament, and by making themselves available “with a
ready and generous heart” for the Sacrament of Penance and the other

This Plenary Indulgence may be applied to the souls of priests in
purgatory. Priests may also obtain a partial indulgence so often as they offer
prayers to ask for the grace of sacerdotal holiness. As I mentioned the other day about praying for souls of our priests, this an opportunity for priests to come to the assistance of their brother priests in

The decree also makes generous provision for the lay faithful. They
may obtain a Plenary Indulgence on the opening and closing days of the Year of
the Priest and on the 150th anniversary of the death of Saint John Mary Vianney
(August 4, 2009), on the First Thursday of the Month, or on any other day
established by the ordinaries of particular places for the good of the
faithful. The particular conditions are given below.

An example, a
prayer suitable for obtaining the Plenary Indulgence would be:

O Jesus, Eternal
Priest, keep Thy priests within the shelter of Thy Sacred Heart, where none may
touch them. Keep unstained their anointed hands, which daily touch Thy Sacred
Body. Keep unsullied their lips, daily purpled with Thy Precious Blood. Keep
pure and unworldly their hearts sealed with the sublime mark of the priesthood.
Let Thy holy love surround them from the world’s contagion. Bless their labors
with abundant fruit, and may the souls to whom they minister be their joy and
consolation here and their everlasting crown hereafter. Mary, Queen of the
Clergy, pray for us; obtain for us numerous and holy priests. Amen.

To acquire
a plenary indulgence it is necessary to perform the work to which the
indulgence is attached and to fulfil three conditions: sacramental confession,
Eucharistic Communion and prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff. It
is further required that all attachment to sin, even to venial sin, be absent.

Indulgence given for the Year of the Priest

Holy See.jpg

Today, James
Cardinal Stafford, the Major Apostolic Penitentiary (or visit this link) announced that during the Year for Priests, June 19, 2009 –
June 19, 2010, the Pope Benedict will grant plenary indulgences to priests and
the faithful.

The year will
begin on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, “a day of priestly
sanctification,” when the Holy Father “will celebrate Vespers before relics” of
Saint John Mary Vianney, patron saint of priests.

In recent years
we’ve been blessed with many favors granted through the pious work of Pope
Benedict. I, for one, am grateful to receive the Pope’s solicitude for my
destiny, for my soul. Why am I happy? I am happy about this because I happen to
think the Pope is a man who enjoys a deep communion with the Lord and he is
guided by the Holy Spirit. His spiritual paternity is one that connects with my
desires to be a man prayer grounded in my desires for communion with God and
neighbor. I don’t want to be controlled by sin; I don’t want to be a sinner all
my life; I don’t want to be ungrateful for the gifts I’ve received from the
Lord: life, parents and family, friends and colleagues, humor and intellect,
desire and faith, etc. Life is not easy. Christian living is even tougher some
days and I know what I am capable of and what I am not. Two favorite scripture
passages that focus my attention in daily living are: “O God, be merciful to me
a sinner” and “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.”

What is
distressing about some of the criticism about indulgences is the ignorance of intelligent
Catholics. There is a group of people who lack understanding of a sense of
grace and mediation of the Church for our salvation are highly skeptical about
the resurgence of talk on indulgences. You ask what is an indulgence and why
are we speaking about indulgences again. In short, the point of an indulgence is that it “intends as its primary aim to stimulate the faithful in their fervor of charity, and thereby in the worthy reception of the Sacraments and the carrying out of the works of mercy and penance.” More information can be gained by
reading the article at this link.

The means to
obtain the indulgence, this favor, are as follows:

(A) All truly
penitent priests who, on any day, devotedly pray Lauds or Vespers before the
Blessed Sacrament exposed to public adoration or in the tabernacle, and …
offer themselves with a ready and generous heart for the celebration of the
Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Penance, will be granted a Plenary
Indulgence, which they can also apply to their deceased confreres, if in
accordance with current norms they take Sacramental Confession and the
Eucharist and pray in accordance with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.
Priests are furthermore granted a Partial Indulgence, also applicable to
deceased confreres, every time they devotedly recite the prayers duly approved
to lead a saintly life and to carry out the duties entrusted to them.

(B) All truly
penitent Christian faithful who, in church or oratory, devotedly attend Holy
Mass and offer prayers to Jesus Christ, supreme and eternal Priest, for the
priests of the Church, or perform any good work to sanctify and mold them to
His Heart, are granted a Plenary Indulgence, on the condition that they have
expiated their sins through Sacramental Confession and prayed in accordance
with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff. This may be done on the opening and
closing days of the Year of Priests, on the 150th anniversary of the death of
Saint John Mary Vianney, on the first Thursday of the month, or on any other
day established by the ordinaries of particular places for the good of the

The elderly, the
sick and all those who for any legitimate reason are unable to leave their
homes, may still obtain a plenary indulgence if, with the soul completely
removed from attachment to any form of sin and with the intention of observing,
as soon as they can, the usual three conditions, “on the days concerned,
they pray for the sanctification of priests and offer their sickness and
suffering to God through Mary, Queen of the Apostles.”

A partial indulgence will be offered to the faithful each time they pray five “Our Father,” “Hail Mary,” and “Glory Be,” or any other duly approved prayer “in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to ask that priests maintain purity and sanctity of life.”

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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