By Justin McLellan, Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Catholics who celebrate the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly July 23 can receive a plenary indulgence, which is a remission of the temporal punishment due for one’s sins, the Vatican said.
In a decree issued July 5, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, said that a plenary indulgence will be extended “to grandparents, the elderly and all the faithful who, motivated by the true spirit of penitence and charity,” attend Mass or other services to celebrate the world day and that the indulgence can “also be applied as suffrage for the souls in purgatory.”
The decree states that the indulgence will also apply to “the faithful who dedicate adequate time to visit in person or virtually, through means of communication, elderly brothers and sisters in need or in difficulty” such as the sick, abandoned and disabled on July 23.
The indulgence also is available to the elderly who are ill and “unable to leave their homes for serious reasons” but who nonetheless “will unite spiritually with the sacred services of the world day, offering to the merciful God their prayers, pains and sufferings of their lives,” granted they satisfy the requirements for the indulgence
To receive a plenary indulgence, a person must show detachment from sin, go to confession, receive the Eucharist and pray for the intentions of the pope.
Pope Francis celebrated the first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly in 2021 and decreed that it be observed each year on the Sunday closest to the feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne, Jesus’ grandparents. The theme for this year’s world day is “His mercy is from age to age,” from St. Luke’s Gospel.
Cardinal Piacenza asked priests to make themselves available to hear confessions with a “ready and generous spirit.”