Feast of Mercy
The following "General remarks on Indulgences" from Gift of the
Indulgence summarizes the usual conditions given in the Church's
law (cf. Apostolic Penitentiary, Prot. N. 39/05/I):
1. This is how
an indulgence is defined in the Code of Canon Law (can. 992)
and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 1471): "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".
2. In general, the gaining of indulgences requires certain
prescribed conditions (below, nn. 3, 4), and the performance of
certain prescribed works ..... [in this case, those granted for the
Feast of Mercy]
3. To gain indulgences, whether plenary or partial, it is
necessary that the faithful be in the state of grace at least
at the time the indulgenced work is completed. [i.e. one must
be a Catholic, not excommunicated or in schism.]
4. A plenary indulgence can be gained only once a day.
In order to obtain it, the faithful must, in addition to being in
the state of grace:
?have the interior disposition
of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin;
?have sacramentally confessed their sins;
?receive the Holy Eucharist (it is certainly better to
receive it while participating in Holy Mass, but for the indulgence
only Holy Communion is required);
?pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.
5. It is appropriate, but not necessary, that the sacramental
Confession and especially Holy Communion and the prayer for the
Pope's intentions take place on the same day that the indulgenced
work is performed; but it is sufficient that these sacred rites and
prayers be carried out within several days (about 20) before or
after the indulgenced act. Prayer for the Pope's intentions is left
to the choice of the faithful, but an "Our Father" and a "Hail Mary"
are suggested. One sacramental Confession suffices for several
plenary indulgences, but a separate Holy Communion and a separate
prayer for the Holy Father's intentions are required for each
6. For the sake of those legitimately impeded, confessors
can commute both the work prescribed and the conditions required
(except, obviously, detachment from even venial sin).
7. Indulgences can always be applied either to oneself
or to the souls of the deceased, but they cannot be applied to
other persons living on earth.