First THURSDAY of the month – plenary indulgence offered


In this year dedicated to priests and prayer for priests, Holy Church has provided lay people with a special plenary indulgence on first Thursdays of each month.

For the faithful, a plenary indulgence can be obtained on the opening and closing days of the Year for Priests, on the 150th anniversary of the death of St. Jean-Marie Vianney, on the first Thursday of the month, or on any other day established by the ordinaries of particular places for the good of the faithful.

To obtain the indulgence the faithful must attend Mass in an oratory or Church and offer prayers to "Jesus Christ, supreme and eternal Priest, for the priests of the Church, or perform any good work to sanctify and mould them to his heart."

The conditions for the faithful for earning a plenary indulgence are to have gone to confession and prayed for the intentions of the Pope.


VATICAN CITY, 1 SEP 2009 (VIS) – Pope Benedict XVI’s general prayer intention for September is: "That the word of God may be better known, welcomed and lived as the source of freedom and joy".

  His mission intention is: "That Christians in Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, who often meet with great difficulties, may not be discouraged from announcing the Gospel to their brothers, trusting in the strength of the Holy Spirit".

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. luiz says:

    Is it necessary to know what the intentions are?

  2. I’m pretty sure it’s sufficient just to think, “Oh, and Lord, I’m praying for the Pope’s intentions.” It’s not like there’s a test paper to fill out, and of course I’m sure he has tons of intentions which aren’t the official monthly ones.

    That said, it’s always nice to know what the monthly papal intentions are, because they’re usually very good things to pray and think about.

  3. pseudomodo says:

    Does the ‘Octave’ apply to plenary indulgences in general and to this indulgence in particular? That is, fullfillment of the condition of confession within eight days of the indulgenced act?

  4. MarkJ says:

    Another question: If I attend Mass on Wednesday night, does this count for the plenary indulgence?

  5. Apparently it’s subject to “the usual conditions”, which means you have to go to Mass and Confession within a week or so.

    (I believe Fr. Z once did a story on indulgences where somebody official defined this in terms even more generous than that (like, within a couple of weeks or a month). But I think that’s just to encourage people not to freak out if they miss some deadline by a day.)

    Anyway, this Zenit story points out that if you get sick or can’t leave the house for whatever serious reason, you can even qualify by just praying for priests on the day and _intending_ to fulfil the conditions as soon as you can.

    Apparently, the Church strongly desires us to take advantage of this Year!

  6. Oh, I remembered why the time is so wide. It’s traditionally within a week both ways. So any Mass and Confession from a week before the indulgence day, and any Mass and Confession from a week after the indulgence day — either one counts toward the indulgence. And then, just to round it out, the recent canon law decided that “about 20 days” would provide a little more cushion, to keep people from worrying.

    So yes, a Wednesday Mass would count, and so would last Sunday’s Mass, and so would next Sunday’s. And a lot more besides.
    Actual text of the indulgence announcement
    General conditions for indulgences under canon law

    I say again, it’s abundantly clear that the Church wants us to use these opportunities!

  7. JohnE says:

    I posted this on the like-named post of several weeks ago, but I’m re-posting here for those who might wish to reflect further on the Pope’s intentions:

    “Apostleship of Prayer receives monthly prayer intentions from Pope Benedict XVI and urges Christians throughout the world to unite in prayer for those intentions. The reflections below seek to illuminate the Holy Father’s concerns.”

  8. ND Dawn says:

    Thank you, thank you for the reminder about this Fr. Z, I can do this! : )

  9. Jonathan says:

    Thank you for the reminder. I happen to be in London and went to one of your favorite places, the Brompton Oratory, for confession and Mass. The place is amazing, they have confessors available for seven hours on an ordinary weekday.

    The Novus Ordo Mass was celebrated very acceptably, communion in one form while we knealt at the communion rail, no handshaking at the peace, the celebrant ad orientem for the preface and canon of the mass. Yet the was a concelebrating priest, the reverend fathers were versus populum for the liturgy of the word, etc. Altogether a great and interesting encounter with mystery.

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