CHARLESTON—As the Year for Priests draws to a close on June 19, Catholics and their clergy still have time to seek a plenary indulgence.
An indulgence is the remission, either partial or full, of temporal punishment for sins.
The faithful may receive a plenary indulgence on the last day of the Year for Priests by attending Mass, receiving the sacrament of reconciliation, and praying for priests and the intentions of the pope.
The plenary indulgence will be granted to the elderly, the sick and all those who, for any legitimate reasons, are confined to their homes, provided they intend to fulfill the three conditions as soon as possible.
The partial indulgence will be granted to all faithful whenever they devoutly recite five Our Fathers, Hail Marys and Glorias — or another expressly approved prayer — in honor of the sacred heart of Jesus, to obtain that priests be preserved in purity and holiness of life, according to the Vatican decree.
Priests may receive the plenary indulgence by praying lauds or vespers before the Blessed Sacrament exposed to public adoration or in the tabernacle. They must also “offer themselves with a ready and generous heart for the celebration of the sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Penance.”
They will be granted partial indulgences “every time they devotedly recite the prayers duly approved to lead a saintly life and to carry out the duties entrusted to them,” as stated in the decree.
Pope Benedict XVI called the special year from June 19, 2009, to June 19, 2010, to encourage “spiritual perfection” in clergy.
Pope Benedict began the Year for Priests on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a day of prayer for the sanctification of all priests.
He also designated St. John Vianney as the universal patron of all priests on the 150th anniversary of the saint’s death. The saint, who is also known as the Curé of Ars, is the patron of parish priests.
The pontiff will mark the closing of the Year for Priests in Rome with an international gathering of priests and a Mass at the Vatican on June 11.
The USCCB offered the following prayer for priests:
Dear Lord, we pray that the Blessed Mother wrap her mantle around your priests and through her intercession strengthen them for their ministry.
We pray that Mary will guide your priests to follow her own words, ‘Do whatever He tells you’ (Jn 2:5).
May your priests have the heart of St. Joseph, Mary’s most chaste spouse.
May the Blessed Mother’s own pierced heart inspire them to embrace all who suffer at the foot of the cross.
May your priests be holy, filled with the fire of your love seeking nothing but your greater glory and the salvation of souls.
Amen. St. John Vianney, pray for us.
For more information about the indulgences or the Year for Priests visit www.usccb.org/yearforpriests.