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Pope Francis granted a plenary and partial indulgence to all those who participate in World Youth Day 2013 in Rio. The Vatican made the news public through a Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary. This concession is a tradition in World Youth Days since they were first celebrated during the pontificate of Bl. John Paul II.
In comments on Vatican Radio, Bishop Krzysztof Nykiel, Regent of the Penitentiary, explained that this gesture makes World Youth Day a “good opportunity to experience the greatness and beauty of God’s merciful love.”
“In his speeches, Pope Francis often urges us to turn to the Lord, to not be afraid to ask for forgiveness, to flee from temptation and all attachment to evil and sin, and to find refuge in the merciful love of God.”
This invitation is “especially for young people today who are exposed to all kinds of temptation (easy money, alcohol, drugs, rampant sex) and who need to grasp the destructive power of sin and then decide to completely get away from it.”
Bishop Nykiel recalled that the sacrament of penance not only forgives sins, but “has great therapeutic power and can help young people to respond more energetically to the personal and universal call to holiness, which is the main objective of these World Youth Days.”
In order to obtain the indulgence, Bishop Nykiel explained that first we need to “turn away from sin, even venial sin, and have sincere repentance.” We also need “confession, communion, and prayer for the intentions of the Pope, and we need to perform the act for which the Church provides the indulgence” (in this case, participation in World Youth Day).
The indulgence can be received only once a day, unless it is received a second time in articulo mortis – that is, if the person is in danger of death. It can be received on behalf of departed loved ones.
For World Youth Day, said Bishop Nykiel, we must participate in one of the event’s liturgies and pray one Our Father and say a devout prayer to the Blessed Virgin.
Those who cannot go to World Youth Day may also obtain the indulgence if they go to confession, receive communion, pray for the intentions of the Pope, and participate in World Youth Day rites with devotion and piety through the media.
“Wherever they are, the faithful can also gain a partial indulgence, provided that with a contrite spirit they pray to God, concluding with the official World Youth Day prayer and invocations to Mary, Queen of Brazil, under the title of Our Lady of the Concepción Aparecida, as well as other patrons and intercessors of the meeting.”