July 28, 2023 2 min read


St. Francis, on a certain night of the month of July 1216, was kneeling in front of the small altar of the Portiuncula, deep in his prayers. Suddenly he saw a bright light illuminating the walls of the humble church. There he saw our Lord and His holy Mother surrounded by a great host of angels; he heard the voice of our Lord urging him with ineffable tenderness to ask for a special favor. Saint Francis humbly answered,Ā "O God, although I am a great sinner, I beseech You to grant a full pardon of all sins to those who, having repented and confessed their sins, visit this church."Ā And Jesus said to him:Ā "Francis, you ask much, but you are worthy of greater things, and greater things you shall have. I welcome your prayer, but on the condition that you go to my Vicar on earth and ask him in my name to grant this indulgence."

It was the Indulgence of Forgiveness.

Francis asked Pope Honorius III, an old and very pious man who had given all his own assets to the poor,Ā ā€œMay all those who after confession visit the Portiuncula with contrite hearts obtain full remission of the punishment due to the sins of their whole lives from the day of Baptism to the day they enter this church.ā€

Today this indulgence may be obtained for oneself, or may be applied to the souls in Purgatory, by all the Catholic faithful on a once-daily basis, for all the year in that particular holy place.Ā  Also just once, from noon on August 1st until midnight at the end of August 2nd (or as designated by the local ordinary) on the previous Sunday or on the following one (starting from the noon of Saturday till the midnight of Sunday) by visiting any Franciscan church or minor basilica or cathedral or parochial church.

Conditions to acquire the Forgiveness are those prescribed for all plenary indulgences; that is:

  • Confess sins within eight days before or after Aug. 2nd (in order to be in Godā€™s grace)
  • Attend Mass and receive Holy Communion;
  • Visit the Portiuncula of St. Francis of Assisi (or any other Franciscan or parochial church) to pray, especially:
  • THE CREEDĀ (to reaffirm oneā€™s Christian identity).
  • THE OUR FATHERĀ (to reaffirm oneā€™s dignity as a child of God, received at Baptism).
  • A PRAYER FOR THE INTENTIONS OF THE HOLY FATHERĀ (for example, the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be) to reaffirm oneā€™s belonging to the Church, whose visible center of unity and foundation is the Roman Pontiff.

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