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Catholic World News News Feature

Plenary indulgences for Year of the Eucharist January 14, 2005

Pope John Paul II has granted a plenary indulgence for Catholics who participate in veneration of the Blessed Sacrament during the Year of the Eucharist. He has also granted a plenary indulgence to those who recite Vespers and Night Prayers before the tabernacle.

These indulgences were announced by the Vatican on January 14. The formal decree granting the indulgences was dated December 25-- Christmas Day-- and issued by the Apostolic Penitentiary. Cardinal James Francis Stafford, the penitentiary major, announced that the decree was approved by Pope John Paul II on December 17.

A plenary indulgence is the remission of all temporal punishment due to sin. The indulgences are subject to the usual conditions: that the individual seeking the indulgence must make a full sacramental Confession, be free from all attachment to sin, receive the Eucharist, and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father.

The decree notes that the faithful may obtain the indulgence "each and every time they participate attentively and piously in a sacred function or a devotional exercise undertaken in honor of the Blessed Sacrament, solemnly exposed and conserved in the tabernacle." Similarly clerics, religious, and others who pray the Liturgy of the Hours can obtain the indulgence "each and every time they recite-- at the end of the day, in company or in private-- Vespers and Night Prayers before the Lord present in the tabernacle."

For those who "through illness or other just cause" cannot visit a church to venerate the Eucharist, the decree allows a plenary indulgence if they "make the visit spiritually and with the heart's desire,… and recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a pious invocation to Jesus in the Sacrament."

The Apostolic Penitentiary instructs all pastors to inform Catholics about these indulgences "in the most convenient manner," and asks priest to be prepared to hear confessions and lead services of veneration in order to help the faithful receive the indulgences.

The decree also reiterates the Pope's instruction for local churches to make their own special plans for veneration of the Blessed Sacrament during the Year of the Eucharist.

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