You all have probably heard a lot more about indulgences lately. They were mentioned in the Ohio bishops’ most recent letter, and one was attached to the Pope’s special “Ubi et Orbi” blessing. A lot of you may be asking “what is an indulgence, and why is it important?” Well, especially now, when most of the world must fast from the sacraments to protect the vulnerable among us, indulgences are a great way of partaking in God’s grace and mercy. The Vatican has even issued a special apostolic decree stating that because of COVID-19, special conditions are currently in effect for obtaining indulgences. (Hint: it’s easier than ever!)
First off, if you’re unfamiliar with indulgences, we like this post from Catholic All Year, which really lays out the basics of indulgences in easily relatable terms and scenarios. She also links to some fantastic resources for further learning.
Catholic Answers also has a few great resources to start with, in slightly more technical terms.
On March 20, 2020, a new apostolic decree was issued, stating that due to the coronavirus pandemic, certain conditions are in effect for obtaining indulgences since many of us in the world are currently prevented from fulfilling all of the usual requirements (namely receiving communion and making a good confession). Essentially, while we are all under the Stay at Home Order, simply do the action required for the indulgence, pray for the holy father, and resolve to receive communion and confession when you are able. (Then do it!) And pray for victims of this virus and those who care for them.
So, if you’re looking for some ways to obtain indulgences while quarantined at home, try some of the following! (Lists pulled mostly from Catholic All Year, but also listed in the Manual of Indulgences.)
For a Plenary Indulgence:
- Recite the five decades of the Rosary in a religious community or family, or while listening live to the Holy Father’s Rosary.
- Read or listen to Sacred Scripture for at least thirty minutes, preference is given to reading.
- Recite the Chaplet of Divine Mercy to pray for the end of the pandemic.
- Take part in special services held on Divine Mercy Sunday (that’s this Sunday, April 19! We’re working on plans right now that you will be able to virtually participate in!)
- Recite the Veni Creator on Pentecost.
- Renew your baptismal promises on the anniversary of your baptism. (Now would be a great time to dig out your baptismal certificate and check the date you were baptized!)
For a Partial Indulgence:
- Use a properly blessed crucifix, cross, rosary, scapular, or medal.
- Use pious invocations throughout the day, mentally or out loud (i.e. “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,” “Heart of Jesus, I trust in you,” “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.”)
- Pray to the merciful heart of Jesus.
- Perform charitable works or charitable giving.
- Make a voluntary Christian witness to others.
- Teach or study Christian doctrine.
- Recite a Rosary alone, or recite a partial Rosary.
- Make an Examination of Conscience.
- Spend time in mental prayer.
- Listen to preaching of the Word of God.
- Visit a cemetery and pray for the dead any time of year.
- Make the sign of the cross using the customary words.
- Renew your baptismal vows at any time.
Partially Indulged Prayers
Click on the link for the text of the prayer.
- Adoro te Devote
- O Sacred Banquet
- Tantum Ergo
- Act of Spiritual Communion
- Prayer for Christian Unity
- Look Down Upon Me Good and Gentle Jesus
- Anima Christi
- Act of Contrition
- Regina Caeli
- Mary, Mother of Grace
- Hail Holy Queen (Salve Regina)
- Holy Mary, Help Those in Need
- Beneath Thy Protection
- The Guardian Angel Prayer
- To You O Blessed Joseph
- Holy Apostles Peter and Paul
- The collect prayer from the missal on a saints’ feast day
- Christmas Novena
- Pentecost Novena
- Immaculate Conception Novena
- Litany of the Holy Name
- Litany of the Most Sacred Heart
- Litany of the Most Precious Blood
- Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- Litany of St. Joseph
- Litany of All Saints
- Little Office
- Prayer for Benefactors
- Prayer for the Holy Father
- Prayer to begin and end the day
- Prayer at the beginning and end of work
- Prayer before and after meals
- Apostles’ Creed
- Nicene Creed
- Act of Faith
- Act of Hope
- Act of Love
- Eternal Rest Prayer