December 8th is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. It’s also the anniversary of the proclamation of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church.
On that date this year, Pope Francis issued an Apostolic Letter entitled Patris corde which means “With a father’s heart.”
The aim of this Apostolic Letter is to increase our love for this great saint, to encourage us to implore his intercession and to imitate his virtues and his zeal (Patris corde).
If you haven’t read the Apostolic Letter, I encourage you to do so here.
The Holy Father also did something which is creating excitement and surprise within the Church – he announced a year dedicated to St. Joseph!
The year began on December 8, 2020 and will end on December 8, 2021.
The Apostolic Penitentiary issued a decree granting indulgences for this year.
Indulgences are a great gift available to Catholics. Below I’ll explain how to receive them in this special year.
Conditions for the Indulgence
A plenary indulgence means that by the merits of Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints, the full remission of the temporal punishment due to sacramentally forgiven sins is obtained. The person becomes as if just baptized and would fly immediately to heaven if he died in that instant. A partial indulgence means that a portion of the temporal punishment due to forgiven sin is remitted (EWTN).
There are four standard conditions that are required for Catholics to receive an indulgence:
- One’s soul must be free from the attachment to sin. In other words, there is no sin one is unwilling to abandon.
- Participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. If the sacrament is not available, one can make an Act of Contrition.
- Receive Holy Communion. If one is ill, home bound or Mass is not available, one can make an Act of Spiritual Communion.
- Pray for the intentions of the Pope. One Our Father and one Hail Mary are suggested.
There are several ways to receive an indulgence during the Year of St. Joseph.
To receive a plenary indulgence, you must fulfill the four conditions above and do one of the following below:
- Meditate for at least 30 minutes on the Lord’s Prayer, or take part in a Spiritual Retreat of at least one day that includes a meditation on St. Joseph because “St. Joseph, an authentic man of faith, invites us to rediscover our filial relationship with the Father, to renew fidelity to prayer, to listen and correspond with profound discernment to God’s will.”
- Perform a Spiritual or Corporal Work of Mercy because St. Joseph “encourages us to rediscover the value of silence, prudence and loyalty in carrying out our duties.”
- Pray the Holy Rosary in families and among engaged couples because “All Christian families may be stimulated to recreate the same atmosphere of intimate communion, love and prayer that was in the Holy Family.”
- Entrust one’s daily activity to the protection of St. Joseph and invoke the intercession of St. Joseph so that those seeking work can find dignifying work because Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1, 1955 “with the intent that the dignity of work be recognized by all, and that it inspires social life and laws, based on the fair distribution of rights and duties.”
- Pray the Litany to St. Joseph or the Akathistos to St. Joseph, or any other prayer to St. Joseph proper to the other liturgical traditions, for the persecuted Church ad intra and ad extra, and for the relief of all Christians suffering all forms of persecution because “The flight of the Holy Family to Egypt shows us that God is there where man is in danger, where man suffers, where he runs away, where he experiences rejection and abandonment.”
If one fulfills all of the requirements, the indulgence is plenary.
If one fulfills some of the requirements, the indulgence is partial.
Indulgences can only be received once per day and applied to oneself or the deceased.
Let us participate in this extraordinary event and be open to God’s grace through the intercession of St. Joseph.
St. Joseph, Terror of Demons, pray for us!