Year of Faith Indulgence for renewing baptismal promises… for converts. What to do?

Think about indulgences. Think about them all the time.

Even as I reminded you that you can obtain indulgences, under the usual conditions, during this week following All Saints and All Souls, don’t forget that during the Year of Faith there are other opportunities to gain indulgences. I wrote about that HERE.

Nota bene that one of the concessions involves visiting your church or baptistery of baptism and renew your baptismal vows.

“On any day they chose, during the Year of Faith, if they make a pious visit to the baptistery, or other place in which they received the Sacrament of Baptism, and there renew their baptismal promises in any legitimate form.”

First, I supposed “any legitimate” form could in a pinch include the Creed or some profession of faith we use on Holy Saturday or in the Rite of Baptism itself. Easy.

However, what happens if you are a convert, like me?

I was baptized in a Lutheran church. Can I … do I… go there? Can I get the indulgence?


The Apostolic Penitentiary answered a question about this.

You can go to the church where you were received into the embrace of our Holy Mother:

By the way, gaining an indulgence is probably going to involve – for most of us – going to confession. So…


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Sweet! I needed an excuse to go back to Colorado.

  2. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Thanks for this. I am also a convert who had been baptized a Lutheran infant, so it’s good to have confirmation that I can do this either at my current Catholic parish in Denver or at the Cathedral.

  3. Father Z, just a technical note. I tried to enlarge the image of the PCED communication, and it went to a screen called “Page Not Found”. Any way to fix the link so I can see the letter blown up?

  4. MattH says:

    To go to where I was received into full Communion, I would need to return to Iraq! Naturally, I am glad there were other provisions for the Year of Faith indulgence.

    I don’t imagine that the location of my reception would work anyway; since the base has been handed over, I doubt the chapel in question is still even a chapel.

  5. Cafea Fruor says:

    Of course, there are many ways to obtain indulgences, so if this one isn’t doable, there are plenty of other options, but is there a way for those of us whose baptismal parishes are no longer in existence to obtain this particular indulgence? My baptismal parish, I believe, was closed some years ago.

  6. APX says:

    Does one have to have a priest present to do this? I was baptized in a small town (doesn’t even have a gas station) in the middle of the prairies, so the church doesn’t have its own priest hanging around town.

  7. Jeannie_C says:

    My husband and I are new to this blog site, also converts of 20 years – from Anglicanism. Some of his family remained Catholic after the Reformation, others continued on in the Anglican Church. Good to know there is flexibility for those of us received into full communion.

    Indulgences, Reconciliation, we hope to see more emphasis on these riches of the Church in this Year of Faith.

    As per an earlier blog post re some aspects of worship having been left behind post Vatican II, do you think we will ever see a return to the use of Communion railings? In our diocese, the bishop has ordered that we return to our pews after receiving Communion, remain standing and sing for the duration of the reception by the community, no kneeling permitted.

    This Year of Faith is a great opportunity to revisit our past practices and develop an enhanced sense of appreciation and reverence.

  8. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Cafea Fruor – The fourth paragraph of the letter mentions “[y]ou can gain the indulgence by visiting the place where you were received into full communion of the Church, or by visiting the sanctuaries designated by the diocesan bishop”. In Denver that includes the Cathedral and three or four other parishes in outlying areas. I can’t speak for other dioceses.

  9. ozcatholic says:

    Two weeks ago, two of my grown-up children came back to the parish where they were baptised, and renewed their Baptismal Promises with the new parish priest. Our daughter said that she had pushed her grandmother (recently deceased) into heaven.

  10. mhazell says:

    Thanks a lot for this info, Father – my wife and I are both converts, and she was asking me a couple of weeks ago whether there was any possible way we could gain this indulgence. It could have been difficult for me: my parents were both in the Royal Navy, so I was baptised by the Anglican naval chaplain on board HMS Nottingham (D91), which was decommissioned in 2010 and scrapped last year. So I suppose the place I received baptism technically doesn’t exist any more…!

    Sadly, our bishop has not (as far as we are aware) designated any sanctuaries or special days. :-( I am planning on writing and asking him to, though.

  11. VexillaRegis says:

    What is going on? I made a post here a couple of minutes ago, and it vanished!? Well, let’s see if it surfices later. Hmm.

  12. Batfink says:

    The penultimate paragraph of the letter seems to imply that one may only gain ONE indulgence attached to the Year of Faith, whether it be by visiting the place of baptism or other grants.

    I was under the impression that one could gain only ONE indulgence for visiting the place of baptism, but also an unlimited number of others for the other grants in the decree (e.g. one for each time one visits the place designated by the Ordinary, one for each time one attends a series of lectures on Vatican II etc.).

    Which am I reading wrongly – the letter or the decree?

    Is this

  13. AnnAsher says:

    Am I taking this correctly that I can renew my baptismal promises on my own ? Or do I need the priest ?

  14. gradchica says:

    Any guidance for those not baptized in a church? My husband was very premature and was baptized in the hospital the day he was born.

  15. Andkaras says:

    Our church,St. Peters had been destroyed in a fire the previous year ,having not been as yet rebuilt ,I was baptized in the nearby bowling alley:( hmmmmm

  16. aragonjohn7 says:

    Confession is awesome.

  17. daughter of poor gemma says:

    Seeing as I was baptized only last Easter Vigil, and still attend the parish where it all took place, I’m not worried about the location, just wondering about whether I need a priest present in order for it to “count”.

    Also, does attending a baptism and responding along, or just attending this year’s Easter Vigil services, wherein baptismal promises will be renewed anyway, count?

  18. VexillaRegis says:

    Variation on the theme: I was baptised (catholic) in my parents dining room, because our parish church was very far away and it was winter. Could I still gain this indulgence in that church, or is that impossible?

    I am afraid, that the only thing one can gain in the dining room now is weight…

  19. Mariana says:

    VexillaRegis says:

    What is going on? I made a post here a couple of minutes ago, and it vanished!? Well, let’s see if it surfices later. Hmm.

    Same here. I think I was third to comment, yesterday.

  20. JaneC says:

    I am glad this question was answered! My husband, too, was baptized a Lutheran. The answer probably will not be relevant for us–I doubt that we will be able to afford the travel necessary to visit the places of my baptism and his reception into the Church, but it’s nice to know just in case.

  21. VexillaRegis says:

    @Mariana: It has happened to me once before, with a long post, but that one showed up the day after. This time I had to make a new comment. Maybe the bad connections have something to do with us living far away, in Europe? There surely is quite a lot of servers between us and the WDTPRS…

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