With the basilica closed, the pope has made it possible for us to get the indulgence at home.
Catholics across the world may obtain a plenary indulgence as they celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the Coronation of Our Lady of Guadalupe from home on December 12, her feast day.
With the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City closed for her feast to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the pope said the faithful can receive a plenary indulgence for their Marian devotion if they follow certain conditions.
Mexico City Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes issued a letter announcing the indulgence. His letter was accompanied by the formal proclamation by Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary.
How to receive an indulgence
To receive an indulgence, a remission of the temporal punishment of one’s sins, the following conditions must be met. A person must:
– Prepare an altar or place of prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe at home.
– Watch a livestream or televised Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City on December 12 “actively participating … with devotion and with exclusive attention to the Eucharist.” Masses could be accessed at www.youtube.com/user/BasilicadeGuadalupe; find the schedule here.
– Complete the usual conditions for an indulgence by praying for the pope’s intentions, being in a state of grace after confession, attending a full Mass and receiving Communion. The letter specifies that the last three conditions “can be fulfilled when public health guidance allow.”
A Primer on Indulgences, Part 2
A devotion fit for an Empress
The festivities surrounding December 12 at the basilica were already canceled in November, with the pandemic raging. Mexico today has the fourth number of deaths due to COVID-19 in the world.
Normally, as many as 10 million pilgrims visit Our Lady for the feast day festivities; the basilica is the most visited shrine in the world.
Archbishop Rogelio Cabrera López, president of the Mexican bishops’ conference, said in announcing the closures, “We already know that the Virgin moves to where her sons and daughters are, especially those who are grieving.”
During the course of the days when Our Lady of Guadalupe was appearing to Juan Diego, there was one moment when Juan felt he had to avoid meeting with the Lady, because he needed to get what was needed by his ailing uncle. He detoured around Tepeyac Hill, but — as the archbishop recalled — Our Lady found him on the path he had taken. It was that day, December 12, that she assured him, “Am I not here, I am who your mother?”
Let Mary come to our homes this year
Cardinal Aguiar Retes reflected on the availability of the indulgence beyond Mexico City, “Aware of the fact that the devotion to the Virgen Morena goes beyond our borders, the Holy Father thought it appropriate to offer this indulgence to all the Catholic faithful of the world to join in our celebration by adhering to the requirements of the Indulgence.”
He urged those who desire to “seek the comfort, protection and tenderness of Our Most Holy Mother to take advantage of this grace that Pope Francis has granted us.”
“Let us allow Our Lady to visit us in our homes this year. Let us open our doors to her and lift up our hearts so that she may bless us and cover us with her mantle. May Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Most Holy Mother, Saint Mary of Guadalupe, continue to accompany us and bless us on this painful journey for all the people of God who wander in our archdiocese and throughout the world.”
The Apostolic Penitentiary had already extended until October 12, 2021 the Jubilee Year dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe that began in September 2019 and that was supposed to end on 12 October, but has been strongly impacted by the pandemic with thousands of pilgrims unable to visit the Marian Shrine.
As customary, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass for the feast day, but with only a small number of faithful.