View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Steubenville Portiuncula Plenary Indulgence

I've always wanted to visit the Franciscan University at Steubenville. Now I've got an added reason.

The Vatican has designated the Portiuncula Chapel there as a place where the faithful can receive a plenary indulgence—an elimination of the temporal punishment due to sin.

That designation was announced in a decree recently issued by the Vatican office of the Apostolic Penitentiary.

Even better, the decree makes reference to the pro-life movement, and it is not limited to a single day in the year, as is the case with many plenary indulgences.

According to the decree, the indulgence may be obtained at any of five times during the year, including two Franciscan dates - August 2, the feast of Our Lady of the Angels of the Portiuncula; and October 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

From the pro-life perspective, one of the days is January 22, the dedication of the Tomb of the Unborn Child located next to the Portiuncula.

In addition, one can obtain the indulgence on any day during the year of a person’s choosing, or while completing a “holy pilgrimage” to the Portiuncula with a group.

I've already spoken with the Good-Looking-One, and we are thinking of going there August 2, a Sunday. I might also talk about it with my SFO group, as we could possibly organize a group pilgrimage.

The Portiuncula Chapel is a replica of the church near Assisi that St. Francis repaired after Jesus commissioned him to “Go, rebuild my Church.”

The decree went into effect on February 11, 2009, and will remain in effect for seven years.

A plenary indulgence grants the complete remission of the temporal punishment due to sin, so that no further expiation is required in purgatory.

According to the decree, to gain the plenary indulgence one should “devoutly” visit the Chapel and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father including the Our Father and the Creed.

In addition, it is necessary that the Church’s ordinary conditions for receiving a plenary indulgence be met: Individuals must have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin; have made a sacramental confession; and have received the Holy Eucharist. These must be completed within a week to 10 days before or after the visit to the Portiuncula.

You can obtain the plenary indulgence for yourself, or it may be applied to the souls of the faithful departed.

I know my own need and sinfulness, so the first visit will be for me. Buy if I am able to make more visits, there are other souls for whom I would like to pray.

What a wonderful opportunity.

Thank you, Lord!


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