During this year’s Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, many questions may arise regarding the conditions for obtaining the Holy Year Indulgence. Pope Francis has outlined the particular circumstances and conditions under which he wishes to grant the indulgence and they are contained in his letter to Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, dated September 1, 2015. We hope the following guidelines will assist you in answering any questions you may encounter.
Pope Francis said it was his “wish that the jubilee be a living experience of the closeness of the Father, whose tenderness is almost tangible, so that the faith of every believer may be strengthened and thus testimony to it be ever more effective.” The Holy Father has instructed that special indulgences be available for the faithful through the duration of the year which ends on November 20, 2016, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
Ways to obtain the Plenary Indulgence during the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy designated by Pope Francis (emphasis added)
1. Pope Francis: “to experience and obtain the Indulgence, the faithful are called to make a brief pilgrimage to the Holy Door, open in every Cathedral or in the churches designated by the Diocesan Bishop, and in the four Papal Basilicas in Rome, as a sign of the deep desire for true conversion.”
Bishop Noonan has decreed that the designated Holy Door for the Diocese of Orlando is located at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe. There are no other officially designated doors in the Diocese of Orlando. While many parish communities have created a “holy door” in their church as an observance and sign of the Jubilee of Mercy and while they indeed serve as a powerful reminder of God’s mercy and the call to be “merciful like the Father,” they do not carry the indulgence.
“It is important that this moment be linked, first and foremost, to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and to the celebrations with the professions of faith and with prayer for me and for the intentions that I bear in my heart for the good of the Church and of the entire world.” (Pope Francis)
2. For those who are sick, elderly, alone and confined to the home. Pope Francis: “For them it will be of great help to live their sickness and suffering as an experience of closeness to the Lord who in the mystery of his Passion, death and Resurrection indicates the royal road which gives meaning to pain and loneliness. Living with faith and joyful hope this moment of trial, receiving communion or attending Holy Mass and community prayer, even through the various means of communication, will be for them the means of obtaining the Jubilee Indulgence.”
3. For the incarcerated, whose freedom is limited. Pope Francis: “The Jubilee Year has always constituted an opportunity for great amnesty, which is intended to include the many people who, despite deserving punishment, have become conscious of the injustice they worked and sincerely wish to re-enter society and make their honest contribution to it…They may obtain the Indulgence in the chapels of the prisons. May the gesture of directing their thought and prayer to the Father each time they cross the threshold of their cell signify for them their passage through the Holy Door, because the mercy of God is able to transform hearts, and is also able to transform bars into an experience of freedom.”
4. “I have asked the Church in this Jubilee Year to rediscover the richness encompassed by the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. The experience of mercy, indeed, becomes visible in the witness of concrete signs as Jesus himself taught us. Each time that one of the faithful personally performs one or more of these actions, he or she shall surely obtain the Jubilee Indulgence.” (Pope Francis)
5. Pope Francis said “Furthermore, the Jubilee Indulgence can also be obtained for the deceased…as we remember them in the Eucharistic celebration, thus we can, in the great mystery of the Communion of Saints, pray for them, that the merciful Face of the Father free them of every remnant of fault and strongly embrace them in the unending beatitude.”
“Through an indulgence, God grants the prayer of the Church that the temporal penalty for sin due to someone be reduced (or possibly eliminated). By God’s grace, participation in a prayer or action that has an indulgence attached to it brings about the necessary restoration and reparation without the suffering that would normally accompany it.” From the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops