Last December, I wrote in the bulletin about how Pope Francis had declared the year 2021 (or, more technically, Dec. 8, 2020 Dec. 8, 2021) the “Year of St. Joseph.” When I wrote about it at that time, I did not have sufficient space to address what I wish to in this letter; namely, all of the many plenary indulgences available to the faithful. Any one of the items in the following list, when done under the customary conditions (sacramental confession, receiving the Eucharist, praying for the intentions of the Holy Father, and interior detachment from sin), is granted a plenary indulgence during this entire year.
- Spending 30 minutes meditating on the Lord’s Prayer, as a way of rediscovering our filial relationship with the Heavenly Father
- Participating in any corporal or spiritual work of mercy, after the example of St. Joseph Family recitation of the holy rosary (or recitation of the rosary together by engaged couples)
- Prayer for the unemployed, that they might find work, and for all those who are employed that “the work of all people may be more dignified”
- Recitation of the Litany of St. Joseph for persecuted Christians
- Participate in a spiritual retreat day which includes a meditation on St. Joseph
- Any act of piety or approved prayer in honor of St. Joseph, when done on March 19 or May 1 (the two primary feast days of St. Joseph on the liturgical calendar), on the 19th of any month, or on any Wednesday (the traditional day to honor St. Joseph in the Latin Church)
In addition, especially during this time of COVID where more people than ever are homebound, the Vatican document also included the following: “In the current context of the health emergency, the gift of the Plenary Indulgence extends particularly to the elderly, the sick, the suffering and all those who for legitimate reasons are unable to leave the house, and who with a soul detached from any sin and with the intention to fulfil, as soon as possible, the three customary conditions in their own home or wherever the impediment detains them, shall recite an act of piety in honor of Saint Joseph, Comfort of the Sick and Patron of a Happy Death, faithfully offering to God their suffering and the hardships of their life.” Note that the faithful are able to obtain a plenary indulgence once per day, for themselves or the souls of the deceased. May we all take advantage of the beautiful opportunities during this Year of St. Joseph to reap the spiritual fruits available to us by God’s grace through Holy Mother Church.
Fr. John Paul