By Tony DeGol
Catholics in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown and elsewhere may obtain a plenary indulgence December 11 and 12 in celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes of Mexico City informed Bishops around the world of this special opportunity earlier this week.
Cardinal Retes wrote Pope Francis earlier this month and made the request for the plenary indulgence on behalf of the faithful who make the Marian devotion.
“In this letter, I explained that with 2020 being one of the most difficult years in history due to the pandemic and other evils, we expected many devotees to make a pilgrimage to the Shrine of our Lady here in Mexico City but also to other Guadalupe Shrines throughout the world despite the risk of contagion from COVID-19,” Cardinal Retes said. “I also shared with him the difficult but necessary decision to close the National Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, from December 10 to 13, and the need to have our celebrations at home participating through mass media.”
Cardinal Retes continued: “Considering the serious consequences, a pilgrimage could have due to the pandemic, I asked His Holiness for the grace to grant a Plenary Indulgence to the faithful who celebrate this important solemnity at their homes, which will encourage us to stay home and avoid crowds in the Basilica of Guadalupe or any other Guadalupe pilgrimage site.”
Pope Francis granted the request for the indulgence, which is a remission of the temporal punishment one deserves for one’s sins.
To receive the indulgence, a person must:
- Prepare an altar or place of prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe at home.
- Watch a livestream or televised Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City on December12, “actively participating … with devotion and with exclusive attention to the Eucharist.” Masses can be viewed at youtube.com/user/BasilicadeGuadalupe.
- Comply with the usual conditions to benefit from indulgences: 1) Pray for the intentions of the Holy Father. 2) Be in a state of grace after having confessed. 3) Attend full Mass. 4) Receive Communion. The last three conditions can be fulfilled when public health guidance allow.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary associated with five Marian apparitions in December 1531 and a venerated image on a cloak enshrined within the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.