In a move to foster devotion among the faithful, the Apostolic Penitentiary has granted a request from Cardinal Kevin Joseph Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life, writes Vatican News.

The Cardinal requested that a Plenary Indulgence be granted to Catholics taking part in the upcoming Third World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, which was instituted by Pope Francis.

The World Day will be celebrated on Sunday 23 July 2023 under the theme “His mercy is from age to age” (Lk 1:50).

Conditions for plenary indulgence

In a decree issued by the Apostolic Penitentiary and approved by Pope Francis, the plenary indulgence will be granted to grandparents, the elderly, and all faithful who participate in the solemn celebration presided over by the Pope in St. Peter’s Basilica, as well as to all those who attend Mass in various parts of the world.

  • The indulgence is subject to the usual conditions of sacramental Confession, reception of the Eucharist, and prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father.
  • A plenary indulgence offers remission of the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven, which can be applied to oneself or to the souls in Purgatory.

The indulgence requires that the faithful maintain detachment from sin and intend to fulfill the three usual conditions as soon as possible.

The Apostolic Penitentiary extends the same Plenary Indulgence to those who dedicate significant time to visit—either in-person or by virtual means of communication—their elderly brothers and sisters who are in need or facing difficulties, such as the sick, abandoned, and those with disabilities.

For people who are unable to leave their homes due to serious reasons, spiritual participation in Mass celebrated for the World Day through prayer, offering their sufferings, and joining in the broadcasts of the Pope’s various celebrations will also grant them the opportunity to obtain a plenary indulgence.

Source of wisdom and experience

In the decree, the Apostolic Penitentiary urges priests authorized to hear confessions to make themselves available with a generous spirit for the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance.

The decree grants the indulgence only for the Third World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly.

The Apostolic Penitentiary's announcement offers the faithful an opportunity to deepen their spiritual lives, express charity towards the elderly, and seek God's mercy in a special way.

The Third World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly serves as a reminder of the invaluable wisdom, experience, and love that older generations offer to society and the Church.