As part of our 125th Anniversary Celebration at Holy Rosary Parish, I petitioned the Apostolic Penitentiary for a special indulgence for the parish. Their swift response – the entire process was conducted over email – far exceeded my expectations: the Major Penitentiary, Mauro Cardinal Piacenza, conceded a Jubilee Year to the parish with a number of opportunities for gaining a plenary indulgence throughout the year.
The Decree, naturally, was in Latin. Here is the fairly literal English translation that I prepared (closely mirroring the Latin structure of the original text):
This decree follows a standard template: the first part is a summary of my original petition, re-presented as if I had made it directly to the Pope (hence, the address, “Most Blessed Father”). Then follows the reply from the Apostolic Penitentiary, written “by mandate of the Most Holy Father”. As you can deduce, I had to send a letter from one of our Vicars General giving consent to my request along with my original petition; hence, his being mentioned in the Decree.
The wonderful thing about indulgences is that they are incentives and helps to our growth in sanctity. The Church incentivizes those prayers and works that should make up a normal part of any healthy Catholic spirituality, so as to purify us of the effects of our past sins and so help us along the path of holiness. I think that a key to internalizing the spirituality of indulgences is recognizing the fact that indulgences are gifts attached to works and prayers that good Catholics are supposed to be doing anyhow!
If we structure our spiritual life around the obtaining of indulgences, we will develop good general habits of prayer, use of the sacraments, and charitable works. We will also be purified of the temporal punishment due to sin that we have accrued over our lives. We will thus grow in holiness, and this will have an effect on others.
Get indulgences – everyone wins!
For those in the Birmingham area, an article will soon be published in our diocesan newspaper further explaining this decree and how the indulgences mentioned in it can be gained. Anyone who has questions is free to contact me also.
On this feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, I give thanks to God for my parish, and for the gifts that His Church has lavished upon it! I pray that this Jubilee Year that has so graciously been given us will indeed be a time of spiritual renewal for us all.