Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 7, 2000
Collins sets sites for indulgences
Indulgences essential part of Holy Year, says John Paul
By GLEN ARGAN
Catholics in the Edmonton Archdiocese will be able to gain a plenary indulgence close to home by making a pilgrimage to one of five churches in the archdiocese during the Holy Year.
In a January 2000 letter, Archbishop Thomas Collins said the indulgence will be available to those who make a pilgrimage and take part in a liturgy or other pious exercise at:
. St. Joseph's Basilica in Edmonton.
. Ste. Anne Shrine at Lac Ste-Anne.
. Sacred Heart Church in Red Deer.
. St. Albert Church in St. Albert.
. Our Lady of Good Counsel Shrine at Skaro.
Collins said "the plenary indulgence of the jubilee can also be gained by visiting their brothers and sisters in need or in difficulty, and through any actions which express in a practical and generous manner the penitential spirit which is the heart of the jubilee.
"This could include abstaining for at least one whole day from unnecessary consumption, donating a proportionate sum of money to the poor, devoting a suitable portion of personal free time to activities benefitting the community or other similar forms of personal sacrifice."
While sins are forgiven through the sacrament of Reconciliation or in other ways, their effects remain in the person. That is where the indulgence comes in.
An indulgence is a lessening of the temporal punishment due for sins that have been forgiven.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that every sin "entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called purgatory.
"This purification frees one from what is called the 'temporal punishment' of sin" (n. 1472).
Pope John Paul, in his 1998 bull declaring the 2000 Holy Year, says "The indulgence discloses the Father's mercy, who offers everyone his love, expressed primarily in the forgiveness of sins. . . .
"It is precisely through the ministry of the Church that God diffuses his mercy in the world, by means of that precious gift which from very ancient times has been called 'indulgence.'"
The pope says indulgences are an essential part of the jubilee. He asks that "throughout the entire jubilee, all the faithful, properly prepared, be able to make abundant use of the gift of indulgence."
He also says that after worthily celebrating the sacrament of Penance, a Catholic can receive a plenary indulgence, even daily, without going to Confession again.
Participation in the Eucharist on the day the prescribed works are performed, however, is required for the indulgence. As well, the indulgence requires the witness of communion with the Church either by praying for the intentions of the pope or through acts of charity and penance.
In Rome, one can obtain the indulgence by making a pious pilgrimage to one of the four basilicas and taking part in a liturgy, such as the Mass or Lauds or Vespers, or taking part in some other pious act.
In the Holy Land, one can receive the indulgence by performing the same actions at one of the basilicas in Jerusalem, Nazareth or Bethlehem.
The pope also asked local bishops to designate their cathedral and other local shrines as places for earning the indulgences with a time of "pious meditation, ending with the Our Father, the profession of faith in any approved form and prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary."
And he further said the indulgence may be earned by visiting those in difficulty - the sick, prisoners, elderly who live alone, or the handicapped - "as if making a pilgrimage to Christ present in them." The usual spiritual and sacramental conditions must also be fulfilled for such a visit to earn the indulgence.