With the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Mexico closed for her feast to prevent the spread of Covid-19, Pope Francis said Catholics can still receive a plenary indulgence Dec. 11-12 for their Marian devotion while remaining at home.
Mexico City Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes issued a letter announcing the indulgence. It was accompanied by the proclamation by Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Vatican tribunal that deals with matters of conscience and indulgences.
To receive an indulgence – a remission of the temporal punishment one deserves for one’s sins – the following conditions must be met:
* Prepare an altar or place of prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe at home.
* Watch a livestream or televised Mass from the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City Saturday, Dec. 12, “actively participating … with devotion and with exclusive attention to the Eucharist.” Masses can be accessed at 1 a.m. and 1 p.m. EST at https://www.youtube.com/user/BasilicadeGuadalupe.
* Complete the usual conditions for an indulgence by praying for the pope’s intentions, being in a state of grace after confession, attending a full Mass and receiving Communion (can be fulfilled when public health guidance allows).
“Let us allow Our Lady to visit us in our homes this year,” said Cardinal Aguiar. “Let us open our doors to her and lift up our hearts so that she may bless us and cover us with her mantle. May Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Most Holy Mother, St. Mary of Guadalupe, continue to accompany us and bless us on this painful journey for all the people of God who wander in our archdiocese and throughout the world.”
In late November, Mexican church and civic officials canceled public feast celebrations for Mexico’s patroness due to the pandemic. The celebration normally attracts 10 million pilgrims to the basilica, the world’s most-visited Marian shrine.
The Archdiocese of Mexico City organized a virtual pilgrimage and asked people to submit photos with their intentions and share images of their home altars and small celebrations closer to home.
About the feast
The feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of Mexico and Empress of America, commemorates the first apparition of the Virgin Mary in the American continent. Five apparitions of Mary took place on Mount Tepeyac in Mexico City in 1531. The most prominent emblem of these events is the tilma or cloak of Juan Diego, where the image of Our Lady was engraved.
This year Dec. 12 also marks the 125th anniversary of the Coronation of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The Apostolic Penitentiary had already extended until Oct. 12, 2021 the Jubilee Year dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe that began in September 2019 and that was supposed to end on Oct. 12, but has been strongly impacted by the pandemic with thousands of pilgrims unable to visit the Marian Shrine.
On Saturday, Dec. 12, Pope Francis will celebrate Holy Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica to celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe.