3-February-2006 -- Vatican Information Service |

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INDULGENCES FOR THE WORLD DAY OF THE SICK

VATICAN CITY, FEB 3, 2006 (VIS) - The Apostolic Penitentiary today published a decree announcing the concession of indulgences to the faithful for the fifteenth World Day of the Sick, which is celebrated every year on February 11, Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. This year, the Day will be celebrated in Adelaide, Australia, culminating with a Eucharistic celebration in the cathedral of St. Francis Xavier in that city.

The text of today's document explains how, during an audience granted on January 2 to Cardinal James Francis Stafford, major penitentiary, the Benedict XVI stipulated the concession of special indulgences for the sick. The Pope, the document says, was "motivated by the ardent wish that the illnesses and pains of mankind, borne with resignation and offered to the Eternal Father, ... may bring abundant spiritual fruits. Above all, he was sustained by the hope that activities and initiatives of Christian piety and social solidarity may be promoted in favor of the sick, especially those who, afflicted by mental problems, are marginalized by society and by their own families."

For this reason, Plenary Indulgence will be granted "to the faithful who, under the usual conditions (sacramental Confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer in keeping with the intentions of the Holy Father), and with the soul completely removed from attachment to any form of sin, participate on February 11 at the cathedral of Adelaide, or at any other place decided by the ecclesiastical authorities, in a sacred ceremony held to beseech God to grant the goals of the World Day of the Sick."

The decree continues: "The faithful who, in public hospitals or in private houses, like 'Good Samaritans' charitably assist the sick - especially those with mental problems who require greater patience, care and attention - and who, because of the service they provide, cannot participate in the aforementioned ceremony, will obtain the same gift of Plenary Indulgence if on that day they generously provide, at least for a few hours, their charitable assistance to the sick as if they were tending to Christ the Lord Himself, with the soul completely removed from attachment to any form of sin, and with the intention of observing, as soon as they can, the conditions required for obtaining the Plenary Indulgence."

The faithful who, "through sickness, old age or similar reason, are prevented from participating in the aforementioned ceremony, may obtain the Plenary Indulgence if, with the soul completely removed from attachment to any form of sin and with the intention of observing, as soon as they can, the conditions required, they spiritually participate together with the Holy Father in the aforesaid ceremony, pray devotedly for the sick, and offer - through the Virgin Mary 'Health of the Sick' - their physical and spiritual sufferings to God."

Partial Indulgence, the text of the decree concludes, will be conceded to "all the faithful whenever, between February 9 and 11, with a contrite heart they raise devout prayers to the merciful Lord calling for these aspirations to be met in order to help the sick."

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