First Friday Indulgence

Joshua Bitting

Information Specialist

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Dear Catholic Exchange:

1. I would like to know if the Nine First Fridays devotion to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord must begin in January (from January to September) or can this commence from any month?

If I should find myself in a situation where I cannot go to Mass and receive Holy Communion, what are the most important things that I could do to receive the grace, if I don’t make all of the “CONSECUTIVE” Nine First Fridays.

2. About the Portiuncula Indulgence: I read somewhere that on August 2 a special plenary indulgence is granted under certain conditions. Somewhere, August 15 was also mentioned. Please let me know if the second date is correct. Secondly, it says that the plenary indulgence can be obtained for oneself or for a departed soul. Please let me know if it is possible for many departed souls.

One of the conditions is a prayer for the Pope's intention. Is it the Pope's Prayer Intentions for August? May? His prayer intentions are many, is it a specific one?

Thank you and God bless.


Dear N.O.,

Peace in Christ!

Thanks for your questions. As for the first question, the nine consecutive Fridays can begin at any point in the year and must continue on each following Friday.

Second, if unable to attend one of the Masses, it is still a good pious practice to carry out as much as possible the requirement, because the fact that there is indulgence for these actions means that the Church is encouraging us to do them. Though the Church does sometimes allow substitutions for conditions on particular indulgences, in this case the attendance at Mass is a necessary condition.

Here are the norms from the Enchiridion of Indulgences; note that this includes the necessity of Sacramental Communion.

26. To acquire a plenary indulgence it is necessary to perform the work to which the indulgence is attached and to fulfill the following three conditions:

1. sacramental confession,

2. Eucharistic Communion, and

3. prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

It is further required that all attachment to sin, even venial sin, be absent.

Concerning the second question in regard to the plenary indulgence: In the Enchiridion of Indulgences, the Church makes clear that “a plenary indulgence can be acquired only once in the course of a day” (no. 24), although “one can obtain the plenary indulgence for the moment of death, even if another plenary indulgence had already been acquired on the same day.” Thus, this would apply in your case in that the Portiuncula indulgence could be obtained for one person, either yourself or a departed soul.

Also, here are the requirements for praying for the Pope’s intention:29. The condition of praying for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff is fully satisfied by reciting one Our Father and one Hail Mary; nevertheless, each one is free to recite any other prayer according to his piety and devotion.

United in the Faith,

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