To help encourage prayers for a spiritually fruitful World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, the Vatican announced today that Pope Francis has authorised a special indulgence for those who attend the event’s liturgies and prayer services or follow along online in the proper spirit of prayer and contrition.
Pope Francis decreed that World Youth Day participants can receive one plenary, or full, indulgence a day if they meet the usual conditions. World Youth Day runs July 23-28; the pope arrives July 22.
An indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment a person is due for sins that have been forgiven.
The conditions necessary for receiving a plenary indulgence include having recently gone to confession, receiving the Eucharist and offering prayers for the intentions of the pope. The faithful must also carry the proper spirit of being “truly repentant and contrite” and participate in the gathering’s sacred events and “pious exercises” with prayerful devotion.
Those who are “legitimately prevented” from being physically present in Rio may also obtain the indulgence as long as they meet the same prayerful and “spiritual and sacramental conditions” as well as participate “in spirit” in the sacred liturgies and prayer services via television, radio or “new means of social communication,” the decree said.
The decree, signed by Cardinal Manuel Monteiro de Castro, head of the Vatican office that deals with indulgences, said a partial indulgence is also available to all Catholics who, no matter where they are, offer prayers with the pope for young Catholics.
“With a contrite spirit, they will elevate fervent prayers to God, concluding with the official World Youth Day prayer” as well as prayers to the patroness of Brazil, Our Lady of Aparecida, and other saints, asking that they intercede on behalf of all young people to be “strengthened in the faith and live a holy life,” it said.
The cardinal also asked priests around the world to make themselves available to hear the confessions of those who want the indulgence and to encourage public prayers for the success of World Youth Day.
The pope is set to hear the confessions of some of the young pilgrims in Rio’s Quinta da Boa Vista Park July 26.