Vatican Grants Plenary Indulgence for World Day Celebrations in Honor of Grandparents and the Elderly

Pope Francis Selects Theme of God’s Eternal Mercy for Grandparents’ Day 2023

The annual celebration of Grandparents’ Day, with its theme derived from the Gospel of Luke, serves as a reminder of God’s timeless mercy. Pope Francis has chosen the phrase “His mercy is from age to age” to underscore this year’s occasion, which coincides with the Sunday before the Feast of Saints Anne and Joachim, the grandparents of Jesus.

Recognizing the significance of the event, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, head of the Vatican’s Apostolic Penitentiary, has issued a decree on July 5, granting a plenary indulgence for Grandparents’ Day 2023. The Apostolic Penitentiary is responsible for matters concerning indulgences and the absolution of grave sins within the Catholic Church.

In Catholic doctrine, an indulgence signifies the remission of temporal punishment for sins that have already been forgiven. To qualify for a plenary indulgence, individuals must meet specific conditions, including being in a state of grace, possessing genuine detachment from sin, and offering prayers for the intentions of the Pope.

Furthermore, individuals must receive the Sacrament of Penance and partake in Holy Communion, ideally within a timeframe of 20 days before or after the prescribed prayers for the indulgence.

Understanding the importance of this opportunity, Cardinal Piacenza has encouraged priests to be readily available for the Sacrament of Penance, facilitating the faithful’s access to divine grace.

The decree outlines various ways to obtain the plenary indulgence for Grandparents’ Day. One approach is to dedicate time on July 23 to visit elderly individuals, particularly those who are sick, disabled, or neglected. Alternatively, connecting with them through phone or video calls can fulfill the requirements.

Attending the Grandparents’ Day Mass celebrated by Pope Francis at the Vatican or participating in another Grandparents’ Day Mass also grants the plenary indulgence.

For those unable to physically partake in the events due to illness, advanced age, or other serious reasons, the decree emphasizes the opportunity to spiritually unite with the celebrations. By offering their prayers, suffering, and life’s hardships to the Merciful God, they can be present in spirit. This can be achieved through watching the pope’s Mass or other relevant ceremonies on television or online.

Established in 2021, the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, as designated by Pope Francis, emphasizes the dignity of the elderly and the vital role of grandparents in transmitting the faith to future generations.

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