The faithful could also visit the Blessed Sacrament either exposed or in the tabernacle and recite the Our Father, the Nicene Creed, and a devout prayer to Christ. The example of a devout prayer that is given in the decree is “Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!”
In order to receive the indulgence, the three usual conditions of going to confession, receiving holy Communion, and praying for the intentions of the Holy Father must also be met. While it is appropriate that the two sacraments be received on the same day, the Church permits them to be received up to about 20 days before or after the day the indulgenced work is performed.
Can’t make it to a church? Be not afraid
For the sick or others who are unable to make it to church that day, a plenary indulgence may still be obtained. One must intend to make a confession, receive holy Communion, and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father as soon as possible, while praying one Our Father and the Nicene Creed before an image of Jesus. In addition, one also must pray “a devout invocation” to Christ such as “Merciful Jesus, I trust in you.”
For those faithful who cannot fulfill those obligations either, it is still possible to earn a plenary indulgence. If “with a spiritual intention” people unite themselves to all the faithful hoping to obtain the indulgence through the prescribed prayers and they offer a prayer and their sufferings to Christ, then they are able to obtain the plenary indulgence. They also must intend to go to confession, receive holy Communion, and pray for the pope as soon as possible.
A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who on that day pray “a legitimately approved invocation” with a contrite heart. As is written in the decree, this invocation could be “Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!”
This story was first published on CNA on April 21, 2022, and was updated April 13, 2023.
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