Update on the 75th Anniversary Pilgrimage Church plenary indulgence

By Tim Lilley

The Message editor

People contacted The Message and the communications office after we published a story in our Nov. 22, 2019, all-diocesan issue regarding Bishop Joseph M. Siegel’s designation of four pilgrimage churches across the diocese in observance of our 75h anniversary.

That story also reported Vatican approval of a plenary indulgence “for the faithful who visit the four pilgrimage churches….”

Confusion ensued over that phrase – and I was as confused as anyone.

As a result, I told multiple callers and emailers that obtaining the plenary indulgence required visiting all four pilgrimage churches – St. Benedict Cathedral in Evansville, the Minor Basilica of St. Francis Xavier in Vincennes, St. James in Haubstadt and St. Joseph in Jasper.

I was wrong.

You can receive the plenary indulgence by visiting any ONE of the four pilgrimages churches and meeting the following conditions:

  • Be in the state of grace
  • Prayerfully visit the pilgrimage church
  • Have the interior disposition of complete detachment

from sin, even venial sin

  • Have sacramentally confessed their sins
  • Receive the Holy Eucharist (it is certainly better to receive it while participating in Holy Mass, but for the indulgence only Holy Communion is required)
  • Pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff

What is a plenary indulgence?

A plenary indulgence removes all of the temporal punishment due to sins. Other indulgences are known simply as partial indulgences. Through indulgences, the infinite merits of Christ, as well as the merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints, are applied to our purification in this life or the life to come (in purgatory).