December 15, 2023

Pope grants plenary indulgence through Feb. 2 in honor of 800th anniversary of first créche

Criterion staff report

On the occasion of the 800th anniversary of the “Nativity scene of Greccio,” the Apostolic Penitentiary is granting a plenary indulgence to all the faithful who, through Feb. 2, 2024 (the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord), will visit a Nativity scene in a church entrusted to the Franciscan friars anywhere in the world.

The Franciscan-led parishes in the archdiocese are:

  • Clarksville: St. Anthony of Padua
  • Indianapolis: St. Patrick and Sacred Heart of Jesus
  • New Albany: St. Mary
  • Oldenburg: Holy Family
  • Terre Haute: St. Benedict and St. Joseph University

Other Franciscan chapels in the archdiocese include:

  • The chapel of the Oldenburg Franciscan sisters, Oldenburg
  • The chapel of the Conventual Franciscan friars, Mount St. Francis
  • The chapel of Our Lady of the Redeemer Retreat Center, Bloomington
  • The chapel of Franciscan Health Indianapolis

The faithful may obtain the plenary indulgence under the usual conditions (going to confession, receiving the Eucharist and praying for the intentions of Pope Francis), and in this case also devoutly pausing before the créche prepared in the church, spending an appropriate span of time in pious meditation, concluding with the Our Father, a profession of faith and invocations to the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph as well as St. Francis of Assisi as is found below.

Those who are sick or unable physically to participate can receive the plenary indulgence either by offering up their sufferings or by carrying out acts of piety.

Invocations to the Holy Family and St. Francis of Assisi:

“Oh Good Jesus, contemplating this Nativity scene, I ask you for the grace of forgiveness of my sins. You are the dawn from on high made flesh to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death. You made your home among us and loved us to the point of giving your life for us. You did not come to condemn the world but to save it. Give me the grace of sincere repentance and the humility to recognize my frailty. Give me faith in your mercy and renew in me the joy of your salvation.

“Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mother of the Church, teach us the joy of the humble and of those who believe in the promises of the Lord. Help us to proclaim the greatness of the God who accompanies and saves suffering humanity. You are the dawn of a new creation. You are Virgin made Church, you are Mother of grace and mercy. Listen to our plea with the tenderness of your immaculate heart.

“Saint Joseph, just and faithful servant of the Lord, you are a holy and generous custodian. Do not take your care away from us, lost pilgrims in search of the true homeland. Protect the Church from the snares of the evil one and teach us to trust in the One who gave his only Son to rescue us from sin, evil and death.

“Saint Francis of Assisi, you who loved the poor and humble Christ so much that you wanted to relive in Greccio, with faith and devotion, the night of his birth in Bethlehem, intercede for us so that we can contemplate with a clean heart the beauty of the incarnation of the Son of God and the kindness of his gaze that calls us to a new life. Amen.” †

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