Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

Plenary Indulgence Declared for Lourdes Pilgrimages

by Apostolic Penitentiary

Description

Pope Benedict XVI has announced that a plenary indulgence is available to Catholics who travel to Lourdes during the coming year, for the 150th anniversary of the Marian apparitions there. A plenary indulgence is also available to those who venerate an image of Our Lady of Lourdes at any church or chapel between February 2 and February 11 of 2008, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Publisher & Date

Catholic World News, December 5, 2007

Pope Benedict XVI has announced that a plenary indulgence is available to Catholics who travel to Lourdes during the coming year, for the 150th anniversary of the Marian apparitions there.

The indulgence is available to those who, under the usual conditions, make a pilgrimage to Lourdes between December 8 of this year and the same date in 2008. The pilgrimage should include visits to the famous Massabielle grotto at Lourdes where the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous, the Soubirois family home, and the places where St. Bernadette was baptized and received her First Communion.

A plenary indulgence is also available to those who venerate an image of Our Lady of Lourdes at any church or chapel between February 2 and February 11 of 2008, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

The indulgences were announced in a decree made public on December 5 and signed by Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, and his deputy, Bishop Gianfranco Girotti. [The exact terms of the decree are reproduced below.]

For those who are unable to make a pilgrimage because of ill health or some other reason, the indulgence may be obtained if, under the usual conditions, they "spiritually visit the above-mentioned places" and offer their prayers on the days February 2 through 11, 2008.

The decree indicates that Pope Benedict wishes to "draw increased fruits of renewed sanctity" from the anniversary celebrations at Lourdes. It notes "the innumerable series of prodigies through which the supernatural life of souls and the health of bodies has drawn great advantage from the omnipotent goodness of God" at Lourdes over the years. The usual conditions for a plenary indulgence are sacramental Confession and reception of Holy Communion within a week, prayer for the intentions of the Roman Pontiff, and freedom from attachment to sin. The particular terms of the indulgence announced on December 5 are:

A) If between December 8, 2007 and December 8, 2008 they visit, preferably in the order suggested: (1) the parish baptistery used for the Baptism of Bernadette, (2) the Soubirous family home, known as the 'cachot,' (3) the Grotto of Massabielle, (4) the chapel of the hospice where Bernadette received First Communion, and on each occasion they pause for an appropriate length of time in prayer and with pious meditations, concluding with the recital of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith, ... and the jubilee prayer or other Marian invocation.

B) "If between February 2, 2008 ... and February 11, 2008, Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes and 150th anniversary of the apparition, they visit, in any church, grotto or decorous place, the blessed image of that same Virgin of Lourdes, solemnly exposed for public veneration, and before the image participate in a pious exercise of Marian devotion, or at least pause for an appropriate space of time in prayer and with pious meditations, concluding with the recital of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith, ... and the invocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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