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The Plenary Indulgences of Holy Week, Easter Octave and Divine Mercy Sunday for Everyone

Holy Week and Divine Mercy Sunday, present everyone with particular plenary indulgences that everyone has the opportunity to receive. Here’s how to gain them for yourselves, your loved ones in purgatory, and possibly even for some forgotten soul there.

The plenary indulgences that we can receive on every day of Holy Week actually are of two kinds. Certain ones are specific to Holy Week itself. Certain ones we can actually gain anytime, including the Easter Octave.

They’re listed in the Norms and Grants in the official Manual of Indulgences, fourth edition (English edition 2006) the latest and most up-to-date edition of the Manual, or Enchiridion Indulgentiarum, the one that replaces all others.

First, let’s look at the plenary indulgences specific to Holy Week. Next, we’ll look at those also available during Holy Week plus any time of the year. Then we’ll review the basic mandatory conditions that must be fulfilled for any plenary indulgence. Then we’ll check on “extras.”


Holy Week Plenary Indulgences

These are the specific works listed in the Grants in the Manual of Indulgences:

Holy Thursday. “A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful who piously recite the verses of the Tantum ergo after the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday during the solemn reposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament.”

Good Friday brings two opportunities. “A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful who

1. Devoutly assist at the adoration of the Cross in the solemn liturgical action of Good Friday; or

2. Personally make the pious Way of the Cross, or devoutly unite themselves to the Way of the Cross while it is being led by the Supreme Pontiff and broadcast live on television or radio.”

Most every parish conducts Stations of the Cross for parishioners on Good Friday.

On Holy Saturday, Easter Vigil brings another opportunity. “A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful who, at the celebration of the Easter Vigil (or on the anniversary of their own Baptism), renew their baptismal vows in any legitimately approved formula.”

The Easter Vigil includes renewal of baptismal vows.


Early in Holy Week

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week we should try to make Mass and receive Holy Communion. That is a “must” because receiving Holy Communion is one of the basic conditions for any plenary indulgence. Here, we consider those certain plenary indulgences which can be gained all year. These are the ones we can obtain on Monday through Wednesday as long as we fulfill the basic conditions (more on them later) and also perform the work required.

The Manual of Indulgences makes this very clear to us: “Deserving of special mention are grants pertaining to these works by any one of which the faithful can obtain a plenary indulgence each day of the year,” always remembering “a plenary indulgence can be acquired no more than once a day.” The Manual lists them as four:

— Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for at least one half hour

—The pious exercise of the Way of the Cross

— Recitation of the Marian rosary or of the hymn Akathistos, in church or an oratory; or in a family, a religious community, or a sodality of the faithful or, in general, when several of the faithful are gathered for any good purpose

— The devout reading or listening to the Sacred Scriptures for at least a half an hour


Any one of these per day, Monday through Wednesday — plus Palm Sunday too — can obtain a plenary indulgence for us for ourselves or to apply to a soul in purgatory.

Read more at National Catholic Register 

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