Italy’s bishops are hoping to bring pilgrims back to the country with a unique initiative.

From June 1st to September 17th, a plenary indulgence will be granted to pilgrims who visit any of Italy’s shrines.

The initiative, known as Ora viene il bello meaning “Now comes the beautiful,” was made official when Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Vatican office that promotes and regulates indulgences, signed a degree granting the indulgence.

The idea began with Bishop Russo, general secretary of the Italian bishops’ conference, who said the initiative sponsored by the Italian bishops’ national tourism office offers a “great opportunity to regenerate hope” in Italy.

“We are slowly emerging from the dark period of the pandemic. Dante’s words, Uscimmo a riveder le stelle [We come forth to behold the stars again], accompanies us and exhorts us to raise our eyes toward the infinite, filled with that light that illuminates our confidence in the future.”

The final day of the initiative, known as “Pilgrim Day,” will include “a pilgrimage to the most important shrine of the diocese where Mass will be celebrated.”

What else must one do to receive the indulgence, besides making a pilgrimage to a shrine of Italy?

The granting of indulgences are predicated on the internal disposition of the person and by meeting the three other prerequisites: Sacramental Confession, Holy Communion, and Prayer for the Intentions of the Pope. All must be performed within days of each other if not at the same time. Additionally, one must be free from all attachment to sin. What does that mean? Freedom from attachment to sin does not mean freedom from all sin – that would be impossible. Rather, it means there must be no sin the soul is not willing to renounce, possibly the most difficult requirement.

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

Interesting in learning more about the various indulgences? Read about the Enchiridion of Indulgences here.

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