There has never been a better time to make a pilgrimage! During the Year of Faith, October 11, 2012 to November 24, 2013, a plenary indulgence is available to the faithful for making a pilgrimage. According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website a plenary indulgence will be granted under the normal circumstances when:
“Each time they visit, in the course of a pilgrimage, a papal basilica, a Christian catacomb, a cathedral church or a holy site designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith (for example, minor basilicas and shrines dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Apostles or patron saints), and there participate in a sacred celebration, or at least remain for a congruous period of time in prayer and pious meditation, concluding with the recitation of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, and invocations to the Blessed Virgin Mary and, depending on the circumstances, to the Holy Apostles and patron saints.”
The other ways to earn a plenary indulgence during the year of faith include:
- “Each time they attend at least three sermons during the Holy Missions, or at least three lessons on the Acts of the Council or the articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in church or any other suitable location.
- Each time that, on the days designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith, in any sacred place, they participate in a solemn celebration of the Eucharist or the Liturgy of the Hours, adding thereto the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form.
- On any day they chose, during the Year of Faith, if they make a pious visit to the baptistery, or other place in which they received the Sacrament of Baptism, and there renew their baptismal promises in any legitimate form.”
Remember, a pilgrimage does not mean you have to travel a great distance or spend a lot of money. There are some amazing pilgrimage sites within the United States and quite possibly, within your neighborhood. See a list of pilgrimage sites by state here. I am constantly adding new pilgrimage sites, so please check back often.
You can find prayers for the Year of Faith here.