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Plenary indulgence for World Day of Grandparents


Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

I.Media - published on 07/05/23

This plenary indulgence will be applicable according to the three usual conditions.

On July 23, 2023, the Catholic Church will grant a plenary indulgence to all the faithful who take part in the World Day for Grandparents and Elderly, and who are “animated by a true spirit of penance and charity.” The office of liturgical celebrations has confirmed that Pope Francis will preside at a Mass on that day in St. Peter’s Basilica.

In 2021 and 2022, the Pontiff delegated this role to Archbishop Rino Fisichella, pro-prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization.

The decision to “graciously” grant these “heavenly treasures of the Church” was established by a decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary dated June 15 and issued on July 5. The document is signed by Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, penitentiary major, and by the tribunal’s regent, Mgr Krzysztof Nykiel.

Who can receive the indulgence

This plenary indulgence will be applicable according to the three usual conditions, the decree states, namely: “sacramental Confession, reception of the Eucharist, and prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father.” The plenary indulgence offers total remission of the temporal punishment due for sins already forgiven at confession.

It is intended for grandparents, the elderly, and all the faithful who will be attending the Mass presided over by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica on July 23, or the various celebrations to be held around the world.

This indulgence can also “be applied as a suffrage for the souls in purgatory,” the decree states, using the same terms as last year.

The indulgence will also be granted to sick or elderly people and to all those who are unable to leave their homes for a serious reason, on condition that they detach themselves from all sin and have the intention of fulfilling the three usual conditions as soon as possible. These people will have to spiritually unite with the celebrations of this World Day — which will be broadcast through various media.

The Catholic Church will also grant a plenary indulgence to the faithful who devote sufficient time to visiting, being physically present or through means of communication, our elderly brothers and sisters in need or difficulty — such as the sick, the abandoned, or those affected by disability.

The first time Pope Francis will preside

In January 2021, Pope Francis announced the creation of this world day to honor the often “forgotten” elderly, who are “a wealth.” It is now celebrated throughout the Church on the fourth Sunday in July. This year should mark the Pope’s first personal participation in the celebration, which is the only pontifical liturgy scheduled in July-August at the Vatican. 

In July 2021, the Pope decided not to preside over the celebration due to his convalescence following colon surgery three weeks earlier. In 2022, he also decided not to attend, in order to save his energy for his trip to Canada, which began the following day.

“The Lord wants us not to abandon the elderly or to push them to the margins of life,” insists Pope Francis in his message for this 2023 edition, published on June 15. This year’s theme is taken from the Gospel according to Saint Luke: “His mercy is from age to age.”

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