VATICAN CITY, MAY 12, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican is offering a plenary indulgence for all faithful on the occasion of the Year for Priests, which is set to begin June 19 and last one year.
The decree was made public today and signed by Cardinal James Francis Stafford and Bishop Gianfranco Girotti, respectively penitentiary major and regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary.
The Year for Priests marks the 150th anniversary of the death of St. Jean Marie Vianney, also knows as the Curé de Ars.
The decree noted that Benedict XVI will preside at the opening liturgy June 19, the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, “a day of priestly sanctification.” He will celebrate vespers before the relics of the saint, brought to Rome for the occasion by the bishop of the French Diocese of Belley-Ars.
The Year will end in St. Peter’s Square, in the presence of priests from all over the world “who will renew their faithfulness to Christ and their bonds of fraternity.”
For priests, the plenary indulgence can be gained by praying lauds or vespers before the Blessed Sacrament exposed to public adoration or in the tabernacle. They must also “offer themselves with a ready and generous heart for the celebration of the sacraments, especially the sacrament of penance.”
The plenary indulgence, which under current norms must be accompanied by sacramental confession, the Eucharist and praying for the intentions of the Pope, can also by applied to deceased priests.
Priests are granted a partial indulgence, also applicable to deceased priests, every time they “devotedly recite the prayers duly approved to lead a saintly life and to carry out the duties entrusted to them.”
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.
The elderly, the sick, and all those who for any legitimate reason are unable to leave their homes may obtain the plenary indulgence if, with the intention of observing the usual three conditions as soon as they can, “on the days concerned, they pray for the sanctification of priests and offer their sickness and suffering to God through Mary, Queen of the Apostles.”
A partial indulgence is offered to the faithful when they repeat five times the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be, or any other duly approved prayer “in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to ask that priests maintain purity and sanctity of life.”