Catholics may obtain a Plenary Indulgence for the Year of Saint Joseph

03-12-2021Year of St. Joseph

Pope Francis has decreed a Year of St. Joseph in which Catholics will have the opportunity to obtain a special Plenary Indulgence.

Plenary Indulgences remit all temporal punishment due to sin. 

To receive a Plenary Indulgence, one must fulfill the following: Be detached from sin, receive sacramental Confession, receive Holy Communion, pray for the intentions of the pope and do any one of the following:

  1. Participate in a spiritual retreat for at least one day that includes a meditation on St. Joseph. 
  2. Pray for St. Joseph’s intercession for the unemployed that they might find dignifying work.
  3. Recite the Litany of St. Joseph for persecuted Christians.
  4. Entrust one’s daily work and activity to the protection of St. Joseph the Worker.
  5. Follow St. Joseph’s example in performing a corporal work of mercy. These include feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the imprisoned, visiting the sick, and burying the dead.
  6. Perform one of the spiritual works of mercy, such as comforting the sorrowful, counseling the doubtful, instructing the ignorant, admonishing the sinner, bearing wrongs patiently, forgiving injuries, and praying for the living and the dead.
  7. Pray the rosary together with one’s family in order that “all Christian families may be stimulated to recreate the same atmosphere of intimate communion, love and prayer that was in the Holy Family.”
  8. Engaged couples can also receive an indulgence from praying the rosary together.
  9. Meditate for at least 30 minutes on the Lord’s Prayer, because St. Joseph “invites us to rediscover our filial relationship with the Father, to renew fidelity to prayer, to listen and correspond with profound discernment to God’s will.”
  10. Pray an approved prayer to St. Joseph on St. Joseph Sunday, the Sunday after Christmas in the Byzantine Catholic tradition.
  11. Celebrate the feast of St. Joseph on March 19 with an act of piety in honor of St. Joseph.
  12. Pray an approved prayer to St. Joseph on the 19th of any month. 
  13. Honor Joseph with an act of piety or approved prayer on a Wednesday, the day traditionally dedicated to St. Joseph.
  14. Pray to St. Joseph on the Feast of the Holy Family on Dec 27.
  15. Celebrate the feast of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1 with an act of piety or prayer.

The elderly, the sick, and the dying who are unable to leave their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic also have special permission to receive an indulgence by “offering with trust in God the pains and discomforts” of their lives with a prayer to St. Joseph who is the hope of the sick and patron of a happy death.  In this instance, the person must have the intention of fulfilling, as soon as possible, the three usual conditions for an indulgence, (Confession, Communion and Prayers for the Pope) as well as a detachment from sin. The Apostolic Penitentiary permits any prayer to St. Joseph approved by the Church.