Pope Francis grants plenary indulgence to Catholics marking Guadalupe feast at home

Catholic News Agency

Pope Francis has granted a plenary indulgence to Catholics celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at home this Saturday. 

Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes announced the pope’s decision following a Dec. 6 Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, reported ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner.

“The situation of the pandemic forced us, for the sake of everyone’s life, to keep the Guadalupe complex closed from Dec. 10 to Dec. 13, and therefore the celebrations of Our Mother, instead of coming here to her house, she wants to go to your house,” he said.

The Primate of Mexico offered further details in a letter dated Dec. 7.

He explained that in order to receive the indulgence — which the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines as “a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven” — Catholics must fulfill certain conditions.

First, they must prepare a home altar or other place of prayer in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Second, they must view a livestreamed or televised Mass from the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City on Dec. 12 “with devotion and with exclusive attention to the Eucharist.”

Third, they must meet the three usual conditions for receiving a plenary indulgence — sacramental confession, the reception of Holy Communion, and prayer for the pope’s intentions — once it is possible to do so.

Plenary indulgences remit all temporal punishment due to sin and must be accompanied by full detachment from sin. 

The cardinal emphasized that the indulgence was available to Catholics the world over.

“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 wrote.

According to Vatican News, the cardinal’s letter was accompanied by a formal proclamation by Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, the dicastery of the Roman Curia that oversees indulgences.

Up 15 million pilgrims normally visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe during the first two weeks of December. But Church authorities decided to cancel this year’s pilgrimage because of the pandemic.

More than 1.2 million people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Mexico and 111,655 have died, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

Pope Francis is expected to mark the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe Dec. 12 by celebrating Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The feast day commemorates the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe to Juan Diego, an Aztec convert to Catholicism, in 1531. The apparition and its miraculous Marian image led to mass conversions of native American communities to Catholicism.

Devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe has continued for native communities, Mexicans, and across the Americas and the world.

Concluding his letter, Aguiar said: “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, St. 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.”

COMING UP: ‘I have seen the Lord’: St. Vincent de Paul’s new adoration chapel honors St. Mary Magdelene’s witness

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“I have seen the Lord.” (John 20:18). 

One couple from St. Vincent de Paul parish took these words to heart with urgency last year during the pandemic and decided to build a Eucharistic Adoration chapel for their fellow faithful to be in the Lord’s presence themselves. 

Mike and Shari Sullivan donated design and construction of the new Eucharistic Adoration Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene adjacent to their parish church to make a space for prayer and adoration that they felt needed to be reinstated, especially during the difficult days of COVID-19. 

The chapel was completed this spring and dedicated during Divine Mercy weekend with a special blessing from Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila. 

“It was invigorating to have the archbishop bless the chapel,” Mike said. “The church has been buzzing.” 

Mike has been a Catholic and a member of St. Vincent de Paul since his baptism, which he jokes was around the time the cornerstone was placed in 1951. The Sullivans’ five children all attended the attached school and had their sacraments completed at St. Vincent de Paul too. 

Archbishop Samuel Aquila dedicated the St. Mary Magdalene adoration chapel with a prayer and blessing at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church on April 9, 2021, in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

The 26-by 40-foot chapel is a gift to fellow parishioners of a church that has meant so much to their family for decades, and to all who want to participate in prayer and adoration. 

The architect and contractor are both Catholic, which helped in the design of Catholic structure and the construction crew broke ground in mid-December. The Sullivans wanted to reclaim any Catholic artifacts or structural pieces they could for the new chapel. Some of the most striking features of the chapel are the six stained glass windows Mike was able to secure from a demolished church in New York. 

The windows were created by Franz Xaver Zettler who was among a handful of artists known for the Munich style of stained glass from the 19th century.  The Munich style is accomplished by painting detailed pictures on large pieces of glass unlike other stained-glass methods, which use smaller pieces of colored glass to make an image. 

The two primary stained-glass windows depict St. Augustine and St. Mary Magdalene, the chapel’s namesake, and they frame either side of the altar which holds the tabernacle and monstrance — both reused from St.  Vincent De Paul church.  

The Sullivans wanted to design a cloistered feel for the space and included the traditional grill and archway that opens into the pews and kneelers with woodwork from St. Meinrad Archabbey in southern Indiana. 

The chapel was generously donated by Mike and Shari Sullivan. The stained glass windows, which depict St. Augustine and St. Mary Magdalene, were created by Franz Xaver Zettler, who was among a handful of artists known for the Munich style of stained glass from the 19th century. (Photo by Daniel Petty/Denver Catholic)

Shari is a convert to Catholicism and didn’t grow up with the practice of Eucharistic adoration, but St. Vincent de Paul pastor Father John Hilton told her to watch how adoration will transform the parish. She said she knows it will, because of what regular Eucharistic adoration has done for her personally. 

The Sullivans are excited that the teachers at St. Vincent de Paul school plan to bring their classes to the warm and inviting chapel to learn about the practice of adoration and reflect on the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. 

The words of St. Mary Magdalene “I have seen the Lord,” have become the motto of the chapel, Mike said, and they are emblazoned on a brass plaque to remind those who enter the holy space of Christ’s presence and the personal transformation offered to those inside.

The St. Vincent de Paul  Church and The Eucharistic Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene is located at 2375 E. Arizona Ave. Denver 80210 on the corner of Arizona and Josephine Street. The chapel is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. Visit https://saintvincents.org/adorationchapel1 for more information about the chapel and to look for updates on expanded hours as they occur.