Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,
This coming Tuesday, August 2, offers a special grace for Catholics. The grace is called the Mary, Our Lady of the Angels, Portiuncula Indulgence. Here is a summary of the teaching regarding this special grace or indulgence:
St. Francis of Assisi and the Portiuncula Indulgence (The Great Pardon)
by Susan Tassone
“The Portiuncula (small portion) refers to the land in Assisi, Italy, that belonged to the Benedictines. On this land was an old church dedicated to the Virgin Mother of God but abandoned. The great St. Francis had great devotion to the Queen of the world and when he saw that the church was deserted, he began to live there con-stantly and repair it. He heard that the angels often visited it, so that it was called St. Mary of the Angels.
The Benedictines wanted to give Francis the church but in order to remain faithful to lady Poverty, Francis rented it from them with the annual compensation of a basket of fish from the Tescio river.
Here is where Francis began his service to Christ and His Church. Here Francis founded his Order, received Clare as his spiritual daughter, and where he died commending this spot above all others to the friars.
St. Francis had great love and compassion for everyone. On a night in July, 1216, Francis was praying in the little church of the Portiuncula devoured by love for God and a thirst to save souls. He prayed for the forgiveness of sins of mankind. Suddenly a brilliant light shone all around. In great splendor Jesus and Mary appeared in the midst of a dazzling cloud surrounded by a multitude of radiant angels. Out of fear and reverence, St. Francis adored Our Lord prostrate upon the ground. Then Jesus said to him: Francis you are very zealous for the good of souls. Ask me what you want for their salvation.
St. Francis was rapt in ecstasy before Jesus. When he regained his courage he said: "Lord, I a miserable sinner, beg You to con-cede an indulgence to all those who enter this church, who are truly contrite and have confessed their sins. And I beg Blessed Mary, your Mother, intercessor of man, that she intercede on behalf of this grace."
Our Lady at once began to beseech her Son on behalf of Francis. Jesus answered: It is a very great thing that which you ask Me; but you are worthy of even greater things, Friar Francis, and greater things you will have. So I accept your request, but I want you to go to my Vicar, to whom I have given the power to bind and loose in Heaven and on earth, to ask him on my behalf for this indulgence. (ed. note: Matthew 16: 19).
With one of his companions, Francis hastened to Pope Honorius III and prostrate, implored him to proclaim that every one visit-
ing the church and confessing their sins with a contrite heart would be as pure from all sin and punishments as he was immediately after baptism.
The Pope granted this petition. This indulgence as been extended to all parish churches throughout the world. The date was set from vespers (4pm) on August 1 until sundown on August 2, the Feast of Our Lady of the Angels.
It is said that St. Francis was given this day by Our Lord because the Feast of the Chains of St. Peter celebrated on August 1 is the day Peter was released from prison and his chains removed. This is an extraordinary demonstration of God’s mercy in removing the chains of sin from those who devoutly and faithfully seek to gain the indulgence by completing its requirements.”
To obtain the Portiuncula plenary indulgence, a person must vis-it the Chapel of Our Lady of the Angels at Assisi, or a Franciscan church or chapel, or one’s parish church on August 2, with the intention of honor ing Our Lady of the Angels.
A “PLENARY INDULGENCE is granted to those who devoutly visit the parochial (ie parish) church either on its titular feast or on the 2nd of August when the indulgence of the "Portiuncula" occurs.
In visiting the church IT IS REQUIRED that one Our Father and the Creed be recited.” (The Enchiridion of Indulgences,#65) One must also fulfill the usual conditions to obtain a plenary indulgence: sacramental confession (within 20 days before or after), Holy Communion, prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions, and being free from attachment to sin. Our parish churches will open on August 2 after 9:15am until 9pm for anyone who wishes to stop in to ask our good Lord for this grace!
Through the intercession of Mary, our Lady of the Angels, St. Joseph, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Paul, and St. Michael, may our good Lord grant peace, forgiveness, and mercy to us and the whole world!
In Christ through Mary,