The Holy Year Indulgence

(significance & requisites for receiving)

In his homily last Sunday Deacon Derek Lappe gave us an introduction to the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. While many people fear the dawn of the new millenium and are predicting great disasters, the Holy Father sees it as a time of outpouring of grace. This will be especially evident when, on Christmas Eve of this year, the pope opens the holy door. It reminds of Jesus words "I am the door" (Jn 10:7) and the Psalm verse: "This is the door of the Lord where the just may enter." (Ps. 118:20).

As Deacon Derek explained, part of this outpouring of grace is the Holy Year Indulgence. Derek brought with him from Rome some articles and official documents regarding the indulgence. My hope as pastor of Holy Family is that every parishioner who has reached the age of reason will be able to obtain this indulgence.

The indulgence may be obtained by a pilgrimage to Rome or the Holy Land. Perhaps the majority of us will not be able to go that far, but there is also the possibility of making a more local pilgrimage to St. James Cathedral or any other church which Archbishop Brunett might designate.

Before making the pilgrimage it will be necessary to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation in a way that is "individual and complete." If everyone eligible for reconciliation comes forward, this may require extra hours for confessions*. Fr. José Jaramillo has given a great example by making himself available every Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. In the Holy Year no doubt I and other priests will also set aside additional times for the sacrament of penance.

In his homily Deacon Derek mentioned certain penances which may be performed. The Roman documents themselves specify "abstaining for at least one whole day from unnecessary consumption." For some this might mean alcohol or tobacco; for others fasting from food or some specific types of food. Also indicated is the donation of money for the poor or "supporting by a significant contribution works of a religious or social nature, especially for the benefit of abandoned children, young people in trouble, the elderly in need, foreigners in various countries seeking better living conditions." Finally it speaks about "devoting a suitable portion of personal free time to activities benefiting the community or other similar forms of personal sacrifice."

As we get closer to the Holy Year we will be hearing more about the Jubilee Indulgence. Jesuit Father John M. McDermott expresses it this way:

"Justice demands recompense for man's sin as an offense
against God and the Church. But just as God has not
insisted upon strict satisfaction in sending his Son to die
for sinners (Rom 5:7f) the Church, wounded by sin, does not
insist upon strict expiatory justice from the sinner. The
Church's norm is the self-sacrificial love of God revealed
in Christ. Precisely to show whence she derives her life
and norm of acting, she offers to believing sinners an
indulgence." (The Theological Significance of the Indulgence).


Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the Jubilee Indulgence

Conditions for Gaining the Jubilee Indulgence

*Mass and Confession Times at Holy Family Seattle.

Homilia en Español Sobre la Indulgencia