Our Lady of Fatima holy Door
What is an indulgence?
An indulgence is the remission in the eyes of God of the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven. The graces granted through an indulgence come from all the graces won for us by the saving works of Jesus Christ and the Communion of Saints.
Why gain an indulgence?
Gaining a plenary (full) indulgence on behalf of a deceased person is a great act of mercy because it makes atonement for the punishment they are experiencing in purgatory; the person’s soul is then able to proceed to heaven. Remember, this is only possible because of the merits Christ won for us on the Cross; we are asking that those merits be applied to a loved one in need of them. If the indulgence is for yourself, you are working toward the remission of the temporal punishment for sins that, if left unremitted in this life, you will have to work toward in purgatory.
Who is an indulgence for?
It can be applied either to oneself or to a deceased person, but not to other living persons.
Who can obtain an indulgence?
A person seeking an indulgence must be baptized, not excommunicated, and in the state of grace when performing the work of the indulgence. A person also needs to have the sincere intention of gaining the indulgence before doing the particular work associated with it. (See #4 below.) The conditions listed below must be met in the required time frame as well.
How often can a plenary (full) indulgence be obtained?
Once per day is the limit, unless it is at the hour of death.
What must I do to gain plenary indulgence at Our Lady of Fatima?
To receive a plenary indulgence for yourself or a departed loved one, the following five conditions must be fulfilled:
1. Make a sacramental Confession within 20 days before or after the day the indulgence is sought.
2. Receive Holy Communion, also within 20 days before or after.
3. Pray for the intentions of the Holy Father and say the Creed and Our Father.
4. Have complete detachment from all sin, even venial sin. In other words, a complete rejection of the desire to commit any sin.
5. Complete the specific prayers or works declared by the Church for the reception of the indulgence as follows:
a. Visit the parish church of Our Lady of Fatima in Lakewood in the form of a pilgrimage.
b. While there, devoutly take part in some sacred function or pious practice in honor of the Our Lady of Fatima, such as the Rosary at 6:30 PM in the church each Thursday or 1st Saturday devotions, or:
c. If there is not a devotion going on at the time you’re here, at least for a suitable period of time, offer humble prayers to God through the intercession of Mary for the conversion of sinners, for vocations to the priesthood and the religious life, and in defense of the institution of the human family, ending with the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles’ Creed, and an invocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima. (from the Apostolic Penitentiary in Rome)
What is the time frame for me to meet the requirements of the indulgence?
The three requirements may be met several days before or after doing the particular work of visiting the parish church and seeking the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima as described above. However, it is most fitting to receive Holy Communion and to pray for the pope’s intentions on the same day that the work is performed.
Do I have to go to Confession every time I want to obtain the indulgence?
One confession is sufficient for several plenary indulgences, but you must receive Holy Communion, pray for the pope’s intentions, and do the action in #4 above for each indulgence that you want to gain.
What if I am homebound?
Those faithful who are impeded by age, illness or other grave cause will also be able to obtain the plenary indulgence. They must detest each sin and have the intention of fulfilling as soon as possible the three usual conditions (Confession, Holy Communion, and prayer for the pope’s intentions). Also, in the presence of any small image of Fatima, they must spiritually unite themselves to the holy year prayer services or pilgrimages, offering with faith to our merciful God through the intercession of Mary their own prayers and sufferings, or the discomforts of their own life.
References on Indulgences
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 1471-1479
- 2 Maccabees 12:39-45
- Matthew 5:25-26
- Matthew 16:13-19
- 1 Cor. 3:12-15
- Philippians 2:12
- Colossians 1:24
- 1 Peter 1:9
- Revelation 21:27