In a remarkable spiritual offering, Catholics around the world have a unique chance to receive a plenary indulgence by praying before a Nativity scene!
This opportunity, lasting from December 8, 2023, to February 2, 2024, coincides with the 800th anniversary of Saint Francis of Assisi’s first Nativity scene. During this period, by visiting any Franciscan church and praying before the Nativity scene, the faithful can obtain this special grace.
The indulgence commemorates the historic moment in 1223 when Saint Francis created the first Nativity scene in Greccio, Italy. To mark this centenary, the Conference of the Franciscan Family sought and received Pope Francis’ approval for this indulgence. This indulgence is not just a ceremonial act but a profound spiritual practice deeply rooted in Catholic tradition.
However, obtaining an indulgence requires more than just the act of prayer.
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin.” Thus, to be eligible, one must fulfill certain prerequisites: Sacramental Confession, Holy Communion, and Prayer for the Intentions of the Pope. These acts should ideally be performed close together in time. Additionally, a sincere internal disposition and freedom from attachment to sin are essential. This does not imply sinlessness but rather a genuine willingness to renounce all sin.
If any of the above four conditions aren’t meant, you can still receive a partial indulgence – a partial remission of the temporal punishment associated with sin.
“An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin.” – CCC 1471
For those unable to physically participate, such as the sick, indulgences can still be obtained by offering their sufferings to the Lord or engaging in acts of piety.
Coinciding with the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and the Feast of the Presentation in the Temple, this period offers a profound opportunity for spiritual growth and reflection.
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