How to get a plenary indulgence Dec. 8, solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

A sculpture of a DePrato Pieta is pictured in the outdoor prayer garden at the Shrine of Jesus the Divine Mercy in Clinton Township. On Dec. 8, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Catholics may receive a plenary indulgence by visiting the shrine and taking part in Mass during the solemnity, which is a holy day of obligation. A separate indulgence is available for Catholics who devoutly pray before a Nativity scene at a Franciscan church between Dec. 8 and Feb. 2, 2024, the feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. The usual conditions for receiving an indulgence also apply. (James Silvestri | Special to Detroit Catholic)

Catholics can visit the Shrine of Jesus the Divine Mercy in Clinton Township, or pray before the Nativity at a Franciscan church

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Catholics in the Archdiocese of Detroit will have a pair of opportunities to receive a plenary indulgence on Friday, Dec. 8, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The solemnity, which is a holy day of obligation, commemorates the Blessed Virgin’s conception without the stain of original sin, which prepared her to carry and bear God's son, Jesus. Catholics believe Mary was spared from original sin through God’s extraordinary application of Christ’s redemptive sacrifice prior to her own birth.

The solemnity is considered the patronal feast day for the United States of America.

Catholics can receive a plenary indulgence during the feast day by “visiting devoutly” the Shrine of Jesus the Divine Mercy in Clinton Township and taking part “in the solemn rites there, or at least spend a suitable period of time in pious meditations, concluding with the Lord’s prayer, the Creed and the invocations of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” according to a decree issued by the Holy See on Nov. 30, 2022.

The usual conditions for receiving a plenary indulgence — going to confession, receiving holy Communion, detachment from all sin and prayer for the intentions of the pope — also apply.

An indulgence is a special grace granted by the Church through the merits of Christ, Mary and the saints to remove the temporal punishment due to sin that’s been sacramentally forgiven in confession. This grace can be applied to oneself or to the holy souls in purgatory.

All are invited to join the Shrine of Jesus the Divine Mercy on Dec. 7-8 in observing the solemnity. A vigil Mass will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7, followed by Eucharistic adoration, confession and prayers for the indulgence. On Friday, Dec. 8, exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will take place at 3 p.m. Confessions and a rosary will take place at 6 p.m. A reflection will be given by Catherine M. Lanni, founder of the shrine, at 6:30 p.m., followed by prayers for the indulgence and Mass celebrated by Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Robert J. Fisher at 7 p.m.

Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron elevated the Shrine of Jesus the Divine Mercy to the status of an archdiocesan shrine on March 26, 2021.

In addition, the Holy See’s decree also offers three other occasions throughout the year when Catholics may receive the indulgence at the Clinton Township shrine: Divine Mercy Sunday (the Sunday after Easter), the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows (Sept. 15), and the feast of St. Faustina (Oct. 5).

The Shrine of Jesus the Divine Mercy is located at 33826 Beaconsfield St., Clinton Township.

Pope Francis visits a Nativity scene in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican on Dec. 3, 2022. Catholics may receive a plenary indulgence this year during the Advent and Christmas seasons by praying before a Nativity scene in a Franciscan church, commemorating the 800th anniversary of St. Francis' creation of the modern Nativity scene and the establishment of the Franciscan order. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
Pope Francis visits a Nativity scene in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican on Dec. 3, 2022. Catholics may receive a plenary indulgence this year during the Advent and Christmas seasons by praying before a Nativity scene in a Franciscan church, commemorating the 800th anniversary of St. Francis' creation of the modern Nativity scene and the establishment of the Franciscan order. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

Indulgence offered for 800th anniversary of Nativity scene

In December 1223, a weak and penitential St. Francis of Assisi arrived in the city of Greccio, Italy, on a trip back to Assisi from Rome following papal approval of the Rule of St. Francis, which established the Franciscan order worldwide.

Discouraged by the institutionalization he saw in his order, and as a way to experientially connect with the incarnation of the Savior, St. Francis requested the creation of a “living Nativity” in Greccio to commemorate the birth of Jesus, complete with live animals, hay, a manger and a baby.

Eight hundred years later, the tradition of the Nativity scene, or crèche, continues all over the world.

To commemorate the 800th anniversary of the modern Nativity scene and the birth of the Franciscan order, earlier this year the Holy See approved a plenary indulgence for Catholics who pray before a Nativity scene in a Franciscan church between Dec. 8, 2023, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and Feb. 2, 2024, the feast of the Presentation in the Temple of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the Archdiocese of Detroit, the indulgence may be obtained at the Church of the Transfiguration in Southfield, which is under the care of the Franciscan Friars of St. John the Baptist, as well as St. Bonaventure Monastery in Detroit, which is run by the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph, and St. Joseph Chapel and Shrine of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Pontiac, under the care of Fr. Alex Kratz, OFM.

The usual conditions for an indulgence (listed above) also apply. Those who are sick or unable to participate physically can obtain the indulgence by offering their sufferings up to the Lord or by “carrying out practices of piety.”



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