Throughout the Jubilee Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis just a few weeks ago, Catholics have many opportunities to obtain a plenary indulgence. What is an indulgence? According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church,

An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints.

A plenary indulgence is the complete “remission of temporal punishment due to sin whose guilt has already been forgiven.” They’re an amazing gift, and they can even be applied to the holy souls in Purgatory. For centuries, indulgences have been widely misunderstood. Read more about them and the conditions here.

DSC00306One of the ways we can gain a plenary indulgence during the Jubilee Year is by passing through the Holy Doors of a cathedral or basilica. In our archdiocese, that would be the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist, the Basilica of Saint Josaphat and of course, Holy Hill. In addition to the doors at these churches, the faithful can visit other parishes closer to home that have been designated by the archbishop as having Jubilee Year Holy Doors.  Here is a rundown:

(Thanks to the bulletin of Old Saint Anthony for this info.)

What’s the big deal about walking through a door? Sounds like a quintessentially Catholic practice if ever there was one. It’s true. For illumination, here’s what Pope Francis said on the subject.

To pass through the Holy Door means to rediscover the infinite mercy of the Father who welcomes everyone and goes out personally to encounter each of them. . . . In passing through the Holy Door, then, may we feel that we ourselves are part of this mystery of love. Let us set aside all fear and dread, for these do not befit men and women who are loved. Instead, let us experience the joy of encountering that grace which transforms all things.