2 August until midnight: “Portiuncula” Plenary (or Partial) Indulgence

From midnight tonight to midnight 2 August, you can gain the “Portinuncula” Indulgence.

Catholic Encyclopedia

St. Francis, as you know, repaired three chapels. The third was popularly called the Portiuncula or the Little Portion, dedicated to St. Mary of the Angels. It is now enclosed in a sanctuary at Assisi.

The friars came to live at the Little Portion in early 1211. It became the “motherhouse” of the Franciscans. This is where St. Clare came to the friars to make her vows during the night following Palm Sunday in 1212 and where Sister Death came to Francis on 3 October 1226.

Because of the favors from God obtained at the Portiuncula, St. Francis requested the Pope to grant remission of sins to all who came there. The privilege extends beyond the Portiuncula to others churches, especially held by Franciscans, throughout the world.

A plenary indulgence is a mighty tool for works of mercy and weapon in our ongoing spiritual warfare. A plenary indulgence is the remission, through the merits of Christ and the saints, through the Church, of all temporal punishment due to sin already forgiven.

To obtain the Portiuncula plenary indulgence, a person must visit the Chapel of Our Lady of the Angels at Assisi, or a Franciscan sanctuary, or one’s parish church, with the intention of honoring Our Lady of the Angels. Then perform the work of reciting the Creed and Our Father and pray for the Pope’s designated intentions. You should be free, at least intentionally, of attachment to venial and mortal sin, and truly repentant. Make your sacramental confession 8 days before or after. Participate at assist at Mass and receive Holy Communion 8 days before or after.

BTW… the faithful can gain a plenary indulgence on a day of the year he designates (cf. Ench. Indul. 33 1.2.d). You might choose the anniversary of your baptism or of another sacrament or name day.

As an amusing tidbit, here is the page from my Roman Curia wall calendar indicating the indulgence.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    “Then perform the work of reciting the Creed and Our Father and pray for the Pope’s designated intentions.”

    I’ve always wondered: Is a Pope able to obtain indulgences? Would he pray for his own intentions?

  2. Off topic, if of interest, money quote:

    St. Paul Street Evangelization equips Catholics with positive, low-key, non-confrontational, firmly Catholic means to “plant seeds” for the Kingdom.

    Details on how you can help and how you can get involved.

    Commentary: If you really want to get involved in the New Evangelization, here’s one solid outlet. The latest update which, full disclosure, I wrote without the intent or prospect of compensation, is also worth reading:

    Big news!

    This Saturday in Portland we’re going to have more than 20 people evangelizing, spread throughout four different locations. We’ll even have a priest available to do sidewalk confessions.

    It’s a testament to the grace of God that these efforts have been growing so fast.

    Promoting Confession on street corners — sounds like something Fr. Z could get into.

  3. (Full disclosure again: I also wrote the larger pitch. Fullest disclosure: I’m also trying to promote it, and with very little success so far.)

  4. Luke Whittaker says:

    Thank you for this, Father Z. This is just what I need to do today. Also, my wife and I recently purchased a home with a built-in outdoor grill that needs some repairs. After viewing your photos of great grilled meals we will have to move repairing the grill to the top of the list of home repairs.

  5. kallman says:

    Dear Father

    I know the confession can be 8 days either side of August 2. Are you sure this is the same for the Holy Communion? I thought the reception of Holy Communion had to be on August 2 specifically according to the Enchiridion of 1968.

    Thank you for clarifying this

  6. Jerome Vincent says:

    I’ve been trying to make more sense of indulgences lately — I’m more than prepared to trust the Church because she is the Church, but in my recent talks with an on-the-fence Catholic friend, I’m at a loss because it seems the more Purgatory makes sense (which it certainly does), the less indulgences do. Since we need that post-mortem suffering in order to be perfected and thus fit for Heaven, it almost seems that remission of that suffering wouldn’t be good for us. Or is it the case that an indulgence supplies the grace to actually purify us, without the usual suffering necessary to do the job?

    Thanks as always for the blog.

  7. Supertradmum says:

    I just ran into the church here, St. Mary of the Angels, which was perfect. I made the Great Offering years ago so any merit I get goes to the suffering souls in purgatory. I hope they remember me. I do not want them to suffer.

  8. NoraLee9 says:

    I am headed into the City today and will visit either St. Francis Assisi on West 31st Street, which is the National Shrine of St. Anthony, or will head up to the Church which captains the order for the tri-state area, Holy Name.
    Jerome: Indulgences refer to “Whatsoever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven. Whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” The work of G-d’s grace in our souls is far above our understanding. We have no idea what G-d will do for us, both in this life, and in the one to come. Like Nike says, “Just Do It.” We are a Church of Action and of Faith, not of Feelings. Just because I can’t “feel” G-d’s grace in my soul, don’t necessarily make it not so….

  9. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Jerome, I hope I’m not being too presumptuous in speaking out, but a plenary indulgence requires that one be free of intentional attachment to sin – so the person who gains one is not in need of very much purgation. A partial indulgence is based on the desire to be free of intentional attachment to sin, so that person is well on the way to not needing as much purgation. The Most High greatly multiplies the effecto fo any good effort of His children.

  10. Jerome Vincent says:

    Aha … ok, yes, I suppose that condition of being free of attachment to sin seems to tie it all together, since as you say, that attachment is precisely what Purgatory exists to expunge. Unfortunately we don’t often hear that condition emphasized, which is when some people both within and outside the Church begin taking a superstitious view of indulgences. And I don’t mean to start a theological quagmire here, plus as Nora Lee says we can’t expect to understand the workings of God’s grace perfectly. Am still mildly curious about a couple aspects, but it’s always good to hear from other people here, and that makes sense.

  11. Imrahil says:

    Well… I think the words “free of attachment” are sometimes overinterpreted. As dear @Fr. Z says, an “at least intentionally” goes with it. I guess it is pretty much the same freedom from attachment, only with restriction to mortal sins, that you need for a valid Confession. You need freedom from attachment to either mortal or venial sins for a plenary indulgence.

    Well, these are my unqualified thoughts. But I do remember someone who knew a bit of the matter, viz. St. John of the Cross, speak of both sins and attachments, and say: “It is better to sin very often without attachment to sin than to have an attachment to sin.” (rough paraphrase) So it seems the first is possible.

    Yes, it is true that if you explain Purgatory only with the status of the soul, then indulgences seem awkward. (I even think I remember that there is a plenary indulgence for the moment of death for those who prayed regularly, the Church supplying, in this case, the usual conditions including freedom from attachment.)

    But it is also justice what Purgatory is there for. And here, no man is an island and the others, here also, may jump in.

    According to the explanation of the author of http://www.pax-et-bonum.de:

    Sin: You smash in your neighbor’s window.
    Confession: “Sorry, dear Mr. Smith, I smashed your window. Please forgive me, I should not have done it.”
    Absolution: “Don’t despair. I forgive you.” –> blots out guilt (well, this is a secular analogy, of course)
    Problem: The window is smashed still.
    Indulgence: Others pay the new window. (They’ve got enough.) –> blots out debt

    It’s a good thing btw that English has two words for guilt and debt.

  12. Dismas says:

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but in regard to the requirement for detachment to sin in obtaining indulgence, wouldn’t renewing our Baptismal Vows suffice? As baptized and confirmed Catholics leading a sacramental life within our Church is this not what we strive for each and everyday?

    A Renewal of Baptismal Promises
    Our baptismal promises may be renewed
    using these prayers in italics
    or with similar words, from our heart,
    after our Lenten journey to the font.

    Dear brothers and sisters,
    through the paschal mystery
    we have been buried with Christ in baptism,
    so that we may walk with him in newness of life.
    And so, now that our lenten observance is concluded,
    let us renew the promises of Holy Baptism,
    by which we once renounced Satan and his works
    and promised to serve God in the holy Catholic Church.

    And so I ask you:

    Do you renounce sin,
    so as to live in the freedom of the children of God?

    I do.

    Lord, all I want to is live in the freedom you offer me.
    I want to reject the unloving choices I have made,
    and the sinful failures to love anywhere in my life.
    I reject all injustice,
    all violence,
    all that disrespects the dignity of all human life

    Do you reject the lure of evil,
    so that sin my have no mastery over you?

    I do.

    Lord, I admit that some evil has a hold on me:
    it is attractive, it has such powerful rewards,
    it has become a habitual way for me to be myself.
    Lord, I renew my commitment this day
    to turn from that evil
    and from letting any disordered attachment,
    any empty promises master me,
    and try to separate me from you.
    By this promise, I commit myself
    to greater courage in acting justly
    and refusing to let unjust systems and structures
    numb my conscience or dull my heart.

    Do you reject Satan,
    the author and prince of sin?

    I do.

    Lord, as I renew my the promises
    that accompany my becoming one with you
    in the baptism of dying to sin and rising to life,
    I know that an Enemy tries to
    tempt me to sin and to many dark patterns,
    I now promise to you,
    and to my sisters and brothers
    who depend upon my fidelity,
    that I renew my commitment
    to reject that Enemy,
    and all his ways of subverting
    your reign and the coming of your kingdom.

    Do you believe in God, the Father almighty,
    creator of heaven and earth?

    I do.

    Lord, you made me and give me life every day.
    I believe in you, I turn to you,
    and I place my life,
    and the graces I need each day,
    in your loving hands.

    Do you believe in Jesus Christ,
    his only Son, our Lord,
    who was born of the Virgin Mary,
    suffered death and was buried,
    rose again from the dead,
    and is seated at the right hand of the Father?

    I do.

    Jesus, my Lord and Savior,
    my life is in your hands.
    I believe in you, I turn to you,
    I commit myself to growing closer to you,
    placing myself with you,
    in love – compassionate, self-sacrificing love –
    for others.

    Do you believe in the Holy Spirit,
    the Holy Catholic Church,
    the communion of saints,
    the forgiveness of sins,
    the resurrection of the body,
    and life everlasting?

    I do.

    Holy Spirit of Jesus,
    Jesus promised not to leave us orphans.
    I so desire to be enkindled with
    the fire of your love,
    that I might be renewed in courage.
    I believe in and renew my commitment to
    your work among us.
    I want to contribute to the unity that you desire for us.
    I promise to be as merciful,
    for I have known your mercy.
    And I pledge to live my life each day on this earth,
    full of faith in the resurrection Jesus gained for me.

    And may almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
    who has given us new birth
    by water and the Holy Spirit,
    and bestowed on us forgiveness of our sins,
    keep us by his grace,
    in Christ Jesus our Lord,
    for eternal life.


    Lord, Our God,
    this year’s journey to the waters of baptism
    has renewed me.
    I have come to know more intimately
    the complexity of my weakness
    and the depths of your love for me.
    By your grace, I have come to experience
    the mystery of the gift of life you offer.
    Please help me to remain free and faithful
    that I might grow as a servant of
    Jesus’ own mission.
    I ask this with growing faith in
    the name of Jesus, my Lord.

    Text of the Renewal of Baptismal Promises from the New Roman Missal, 3rd Edition.

  13. Gregg the Obscure says:

    I had the joyful privilege of stopping at Annunciation parish in North Denver to pray. It’s a Franciscan parish, but one I’d never visited before. It’s a strikingly beautiful place to pray, even if one wouldn’t expect that from the outside. The daily Mass was in progress, so I listened to the Gospel and prayed during the homily then made a quiet exit so as not to be terribly late for work.

    There were, though, three things I wanted to see but didn’t: confessionals (admittedly I could have missed them); a poor box (guess I’ll send something to Fr. George instead) and more people assisting at daily Mass (that one’s at least partly on me for taking off).

    If you’re curious: http://lukeone26.org/

    Confession on Saturday and communion on Sunday and there should be at least a good partial indulgence.

  14. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Dismas, yes it would, if sincere, and if the sin it opposes it to is also venial sin. (Sometimes unqualified “sin” means mortal sin, I guess.)

    A person who is attached to venial but not mortal sin, I believe, would be one who refuses to put his alarm clock to an earlier time for getting the earlier subway, even though he is always five minutes late for the Sunday Mass – but who has a decisive horror of missing an important part of the Mass by quality or quantity. Or the like.

    However, I’m even less apt to answer questions on this topic than on others, so please take this with a grain of salt.

  15. JoyfulMom7 says:

    Does one need be actually be *inside* the church to make the visit and say the prayers? I am going to Adoration later this evening and the chapel is just beside the Church building, but it won’t be opened then for me to go in. I ask in all sincerity.

  16. Wikipedia claims it has to be a cathedral parish or co-cathedral parish. Is this true?

  17. For those who couldn’t make it to Rome: you can get an indulgence by visiting the replica Portiuncula at Franciscan University.

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