Friday, March 22, 2024

Catholicism 101: Plenary Indulgences and Father Tony's Journey

This past Sunday, we had our March Catholicism 101.  The question that had been asked was what is a plenary indulgence, and what does that mean for us?  To understand a plenary indulgence, we need to have an awareness of life after death.  There are two options, heaven and hell.  There are two paths to heaven, though.  We may go directly to heaven or we may need a period of purification.  Purgatory is a place that exists outside of time where we are prepared for our entry into heaven.  Once a soul has reached purgatory, they will not go to hell, they will go to heaven once the purification has been completed.

A plenary indulgence is when God indulges us with mercy through reconciliation for acts of prayer we offer for ourselves or for the souls in purgatory.  The requirements to "earn" a plenary indulgence are usually tied to prayer, repenentance, worthy reception of Communion and inviting Jesus into your life.

Plenary indulgences, unlike other forms of prayer, may only be offered for one person at a time.

Father Tony did, briefly, discuss the problems in the middle ages with the sale of indulgences.  This is something that fell out of practice.  When it came back into practice, it was with a better understanding that God's mercy could not be for sale.

Sunday was the first time since Father Tony received the news he only had three months to live that he was able to have direct time with our students.  He shared his witness of faith and living in hope for the eternal life that God has promised those who believe.  It was a beautifully emotional evening spent in community with the ones he has walked in faith with throughout their college careers.


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