Plenary Indulgencies For Secular Franciscans

The Church has granted to members of the Secular Franciscan Order (under the jurisdiction of the Order of Friars Minor) the following plenary indulgences:

May 16th St. Margaret of Cortona
Aug 25th St. Louis, King
Sept. 4th St. Rose of Viterbo
Oct. 4th St. Francis of Assisi
Nov. 19th St. Elizabeth of Hungary
Nov. 29th All Saints of the Franciscan Order
Dec. 8th Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M.

For Individual members on two occasions:
1. On the day of their admission or initiation.
2. On the day of their profession or commitment.
Ref. Source: (Cf. Franciscan Hearld, 1970, pp. 134-138, 182)

General Conditions for Indulgences as defined by the Code of Canon Law (can. 992) and the Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1471!
1. Faithful must be in a state of Grace
2. Have interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin
3. Have sacramentally confessed their sins
4. Received Holy Eucharist
5. Pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff

Plenary indulgences can be gained only once a day.

The Portiuncula Indulgence, granted for August 2, can be obtained by any member of the faithful (not just a Franciscan) who visits any parish church (not necessarily a Franciscan Church), a cathedral, or a co-cathedral from noon on August 1 to midnight of August 2 and who satisfies the 3 regular conditions of sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion, and a prayer for the pope’s intentions within several days preceding or following the particular date, and performing the prescribed work attached to the devout visit to that church, i.e., praying the Lord’s Prayer and Creed.

Deacon Ric’s Handbook of Indulgences states that it is more fitting that holy communion and the prayer for the pope’s intentions take place on the day that the work is performed (i.e., the visit to the church). I think you have everything stated more or less correctly.

Indulgences of the Secular Franciscan Order6
Prot. 4/72
Holy Father,

The lnterobediental General Council7 of the Secular Third Order of Saint Francis of Assisi8 humbly asks for a revision of the indulgences given by the Holy See to the members of the Secular Third Order, in accordance with the norms of the Apostolic Constitution ((lndulgentiarum doctrina)) of January 1, 1967, n. 14.
And God etc.

January 22, 1972

The Sacred Penitentiary, by virtue of the special and explicit faculties given by the Holy Father, benignly concedes a plenary Indulgence to the members mentioned above, provided they make or renew, at least privately, their promise to observe faithfully the Statutes of their association9, having dutifully fulfilled the usual conditions (confession, communion, and prayer to the intention of the Supreme Pontiff):

1. on the day of their admission and of their profession, and at the conclusion of an official visitation;

2. on the feast-days of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Saint Francis of Assisi; Saint Louis, King; Saint Elizabeth; Blessed Luchesius; Saint Clare; Saint Margaret of Cortona and all the Saints of the Three Orders of Saint Francis.
The present decision will be in force immediately and perpetually, without any time limit.
Anything to the contrary not withstanding.
In name of his Eminency
G. Sessolo. Regent
M. Venturi, Secretary

6 These indulgences, still valid today, were granted to the Secular Franciscan Order in 1972, six years before the SF0 Rule was approved by Pope Paul VI on June 24. 1978. All footnotes are added by the translator to explain words no longer in common use.
7 The predecessor of the Presidency of the International Council of the SF0.
8 The Secular Franciscan Order.
9 In other words: To obtain the plenary indulgence, the members of the SF0 should renew their Promise of Evangelical Life (Profession of the SF0 Rule) in addition to confession, communion and prayer to the intention of the Pope.



To: The members
From: Steve & Lillian

The Portiuncula (small portion) refers to the land in Assisi, Italy, that belonged to the Benedictines. On this land was an old church dedicated to the Virgin Mother of God but abandoned.
St. Francis had great devotion to the queen of the world and when he saw that the church was deserted, he began to live there and repair it. He heard that the angels often visited it, so that it was called St. Mary of the Angels.
The Benedictines wanted to give Francis the church but in order to remain faithful to Lady Poverty; Francis rented it from them with the annual compensation of a basket of fish from the Tescio River.
Here is where Francis began his service to Christ and His Church. Here Francis founded his Order, received Clare as his spiritual daughter, and where he died commending this spot above all others to the friars.
St. Francis had great love and compassion for everyone. On a night of July, 1216, Francis prayed in the little church; devoured by love for God and a thirst to save souls, he prayed for the forgiveness of sins of all mankind.
Suddenly a brilliant light shone all around. In great splendor Jesus and Mary appeared in the midst of a dazzling cloud surrounded by a multitude of radiant angels. Out of fear and reverence, St. Francis adored Our Lord prostrate upon the ground.
Then Jesus said to him: “Francis you are very zealous for the good of souls. Ask me what you want for their salvation.” St. Francis was rapt in ecstasy before Jesus. When he regained his courage he said: “Lord, I a miserable sinner beg you to concede an indulgence to all those who enter this church, who are truly contrite and have confessed their sins. And I beg Blessed Mary, your Mother, intercessor of man that she intercede on behalf of this grace.”
Our Lady at once began to beseech her son on behalf of Francis. Jesus answered: “It is a very great thing that which you ask Me; but you are worthy of even greater things, Friar Francis, and greater things you will have. So I accept your request, but I want you to go to my Vicar, to whom I have given the power to bind and loose in Heaven and on earth, to ask him on my behalf for this indulgence.”
With one of his companions, Francis hastened to Pope Honorius III and prostrate implored him to proclaim that every one visiting the church and confessing their sins with a contrite heart would be as pure from all sin and punishments as he was immediately after baptism. The Pope granted this petition. This indulgence has been extended to all parish churches throughout the world.
The date was set from vespers of the first of August until sundown on the second of August, the Feast of Our Lady of the Angels. It is said that St. Francis was given this day by Our Lord because the Feast of the Chains of St. Peter celebrated on August first is the day Peter was released from prison and his chains removed. This is an extraordinary demonstration of God’s mercy in removing the chains of sin from those who devoutly and faithfully seek to gain the indulgence by completing its requirements.
The conditions to obtain the Plenary Indulgence of the Forgiveness of Assisi is for oneself or for a departed soul as follows:

— Sacramental Confession to be in God’s grace (during eight days before or after.)

— Participation in the Holy Mass and Eucharist

— Recitation of The Apostles Creed, Our Father and a prayer for the Pope’s Intention.

The Portiuncula Indulgence is a grace not to be missed, not only for you but for the many suffering souls in Purgatory.
Mark your calendar for the Feast of Our Lady of the Angels beginning on the First of August to August 2nd and tell everyone of the magnitude of this gift. Once again, we see the unfathomable Divine Mercy of God.
In the words of St. Francis: O my Brothers and Sisters, I want you all to go to Heaven!
The Portiuncula Indulgence could at first be gained only in the Portiuncula chapel between the afternoon of 1 Aug. and sunset on 2 Aug. On 5 Aug., 1480 (or 1481), Sixtus IV extended it to all churches of the first and second orders of St. Francis for Franciscans; on 4 July, 1622, this privilege was further extended by Gregory XV to all the faithful, who, after confession and the reception of Holy Communion, visited such churches on the appointed day. On 12 Oct., 1622, Gregory granted the same privilege to all the churches of the Capuchins; Urban VIII granted it for all churches of the regular Third Order on 13 Jan., 1643, and Clement X for all churches of the Conventuals on 3 Oct., 1670. Later popes extended the privilege to all churches pertaining in any way to the Franciscan Order, even to churches in which the Third Order held its meetings (even parish churches, etc.), provided that there was no Franciscan church in the district, and that such a church was distant over an Italian mile (1000 paces, about 1640 yards).

Some districts and countries have been granted special privileges. On 9 July, 1910, Pius X (only, however, for that year) granted the privilege that bishops could appoint any public churches whatsoever for the gaining of the Portiuncula Indulgence, whether on 2 Aug. or the Sunday following (Acta Apostolicae Sedis, II, 1910, 443 sq.; Acta Ord. Frat. Min., XXIX, 1910, 226). This privilege has been renewed for an indefinite time by a decree of the S. Cong. of Indul., 26 March, 1911 (Acta Apostolicae Sedis, III, 1911, 233-4). The Indulgence is toties-quoties, that is, it may be gained as often as one wishes (i.e. visits the church); it is also applicable to the souls in purgatory.

While the declarations of the popes have rendered the Portiuncula Indulgence certain and indisputable from the juridico-canonistic standpoint, its historical authenticity (sc. origin from St. Francis) is still a subject of dispute. The controversy arises from the fact that none of the old legends of St. Francis mentions the Indulgence, and no contemporary document or mention of it has come down to us. The oldest document dealing with the Indulgence is a notary’s deed of 31 October, 1277, in which Blessed Benedict of Arezzo, whom St. Francis himself received into the order, testifies that he had been informed by Brother Masseo, a companion of St. Francis, of the granting of the Indulgence by Honorius III at Perugia. Then follow other testimonies, for example, those of Jacob Cappoli concerning Brother Leo, of Fr. Oddo of Aquasparta, Peter Zalfani, Peter John Olivi (d. 1298, who wrote a scholastic tract in defense of this indulgence about 1279), Blessed John of Laverna (Fermo; d. 1322), Ubertinus of Casale (d. after 1335), Blessed Francis of Fabriano (d. 1322), whose testimony goes back to the year 1268, etc. In addition to these rather curt and concise testimonies there are others which relate all details in connection with the granting of the Indulgence, and were reproduced in numberless books: e.g. the testimony of Michael Bernardi, the letters of Bishop Theobald of Assisi (1296-1329) and of his successor Conrad Andreae (1329-37). All the testimonies were collected by Fr. Francesco Bartholi della Rossa in a special work, “Tractatus de Indulgentia S. Mariae de Portiuncula” (ed. Sabatier, Paris, 1900). In his edition of this work, Sabatier defends the Indulgence, although in his world-famous “Vie de S. François” (Paris, 1894), he had denied its historicity (412 sqq.); he explains the silence of St. Francis and his companions and biographers as due to reasons of discretion etc. Others seek to accord more weight to the later testimonies by accentuating their connection with the first generation of the order; others again find allusions to the Indulgence in the old legends of St. Francis. On the other hand, the opponents regard the gap between 1216 and 1277 as unbridgable, and hold that the grounds brought forward by the defenders to explain this silence had vanished long before the latter date. No new documents have been found recently in favour of the authenticity of the Indulgence.

[Note: The norms and grants of indulgences were completely reformed by Pope Paul VI after the Second Vatican Council in hisApostolic Constitution “Indulgentiarum Doctrina” (1967), and the Portiuncula Indulgence was again confirmed at that time. According to the Enchiridion Indulgentiarum, the Catholic faithful may gain a plenary indulgence on 2 August (the Portiuncula) or on such other day as designated by the local ordinary for the advantage of the faithful, under the usual conditions(sacramental Confession, Holy Communion, and prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff), by devoutly visiting the parish church, and there reciting at least the Lord’s Prayer and the Creed. The Indulgence applies to the cathedral church of the diocese, and to the co-cathedral church (if there is one), even if they are not parochial, and also to quasi-parochial churches. To gain this, as any plenary indulgence, the faithful must be free from any attachment to sin, even venial sin. Where this entire detachment is wanting, the indulgence is partial.]


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