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A brief guide to the Jubilee Indulgence

11th anniversary of the election of Pope Francis

VINCENZO PINTO | AFP

Daniel Esparza - published on 05/16/24

The Jubilee Indulgence is a powerful symbol of God’s forgiveness, extending to those who have passed away. There are two main ways to get it.

A jubilee, according to biblical tradition, is a special year of remission of sins, debts, and universal pardon. In the book of Leviticus, a jubilee year is mentioned to occur every 50 years. During that year, slaves and prisoners would be freed, debts would be forgiven, and the mercies of God would be particularly manifest. The Catholic Church’s special Jubilee Year in 2025 offers a unique opportunity to receive a Plenary Indulgence – a special sign of God’s boundless mercy that grants remission of all temporal punishment associated with sin. Here, we want to offer a brief look at how to make the most of this gift and its significance in the Catholic faith.

The Jubilee Indulgence is a powerful symbol of God’s forgiveness, extending particularly to those who have passed away. There are two main ways to get it: by going on a pilgrimage, or by engaging in penitential, merciful acts.

Pilgrimages

A traditional way to get the indulgence is to go on a pilgrimage to Rome. However, the Holy See is flexible on this. Just visiting one of the four major papal basilicas in Rome (St. Peter’s, St. Paul Outside the Walls, St. John Lateran, or St. Mary Major) would be enough. The Holy See even suggests alternative itineraries within Rome, including following the footsteps of St. Philip Neri by visiting his favorite “seven churches.”

If you can’t make it to Rome, no problem! You can also go on pilgrimages to the three Holy Land basilicas (Jerusalem’s Holy Sepulchre, Bethlehem’s Nativity Church, and Nazareth’s Basilica of the Annunciation) or major Italian basilicas like Assisi and Loreto.

But if a trip to Europe isn’t on the itinerary, any shrine, basilica, or cathedral that has been designated by a bishop’s conference as a Jubilee site can be used as a pilgrimage destination.

This all sounds great, but what about those who can’t travel? The Church understands that illness, age, or service to others (like healthcare work) might prevent some from undertaking a pilgrimage. The indulgence also applies to these individuals. You can also pray from home, follow the Pope or local bishop virtually, or perform acts of mercy or penance.

Mercy and penance

There are lots of different ways to do this. If you take part in missions, spiritual exercises, or educational programs focused on the Second Vatican Council or the Catechism, you could qualify. There are also ways to receive the indulgence by doing good deeds for the less fortunate or acts of self-denial like giving up social media or fasting. There are also other ways to get the indulgence, such as donating to charity, volunteering, or defending life at all stages.

It’s important to keep a few things in mind: To qualify for the indulgence, you have to be truly sorry for your sins, go to confession, receive Communion, and pray for the Pope’s intentions. Bishops will be encouraged to make it easier for people to get the indulgence by making confession more widely available.

The Jubilee Year 2025 is an ideal time for spiritual renewal and a real encounter with God’s mercy.

You can get the full details from the Vatican announcement here.

And if you’d like to better understand indulgences, check out our handy primer on indulgences, Part 1 and Part 2).

Tags:
Jubilee 2025PilgrimagesPope Francis
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