This weekend is the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, and the conclusion of the Church’s liturgical Christmas season. I hope these days have been blessed for you; an opportunity to contemplate the human face of Jesus Christ, whose Incarnation is a vital part of the divine work of salvation.
A number of times I have already written to you about the Year of Faith, proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI and continuing until the Feast of Christ the King, Sunday, November 24, 2013. A major theme of the Holy Father’s letter on the Year of Faith is Baptism, the beginning of our life in Christ, and the moment in which – in the context of our Baptismal promises and Profession of Faith, we are given the gift of supernatural faith.
I have asked that, in all of our parish Masses this weekend your priests and deacons will invite us all to renew the promises of our own Baptism, and in so doing draw closer to Jesus Christ.
We have also set a day in the Spring, Sunday, March 10, 2013, through the Sunday morning Masses until 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon, when I invite and encourage all the faithful to visit, if possible, the church of their baptism, and make the profession of faith in any legitimate form, and receive the Year of Faith indulgence. Many may have been baptized far away, or circumstances may prohibit them from making a longer pilgrimage. In those cases each person may make a visit at one of the Cathedrals or other designated churches. If that is impossible then you may make the ‘pilgrimage’ at your parish church.
I pray that this Year of Faith may be the occasion of a renewal of faith in the hearts of us all. Below I have established guidelines in accord with the directives of the Universal Church, for a grace-filled observance of the Year of Faith.
January 13, 2013, Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord
In Accordance with Apostolic Letter, Porta Fidei, of Pope Benedict XVI
Most Rev. Robert W. Finn, Bishop of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph
Issues this Decree on Sacred Indulgences For the Year of Faith
In response to the Apostolic Penitentiary, which issued a decree making possible the attainment of plenary indulgences to the faithful during the Year of Faith, October 11, 2012 to November 24, 2013, The Most Reverend Robert W. Finn, Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph, encourages the faithful to embrace the sacred gift of indulgences in order to pursue “the highest possible degree of purity of soul. . . which the Church by the power conferred on her by Christ offers to all, who, with the proper disposition fulfill the special prescriptions for gaining them.”
“Therefore, throughout the Year of Faith, all individual members of the faithful who are truly repentant, have duly received the Sacrament of Penance and Holy Communion, and who pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff may receive the Plenary Indulgence¹ in remission of the temporal punishment for their sins, imparted through God’s mercy, and applicable in suffrage to the souls of the deceased:
• Every time they take at least one Bishop Helmsing Course on the Proceedings of the Second Vatican Council and on the Articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in any church or suitable place.2
• Every time they go as pilgrims to a cathedral church, a sacred place designated by the local Ordinary for the Year of Faith . . . and take part there in some sacred function or at least pause in recollection for a suitable length of time with devout meditation, concluding with the recitation of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, invocations to the Blessed Virgin Mary or, depending on the case, to the Holy Apostles or Patrons:
• Cathedral Church of the Immaculate Conception in Kansas City, Missouri
• Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph in St. Joseph, Missouri
• Abbey Basilica of Conception Abbey, Conception, Missouri
• MIR House of Prayer, St. Joseph, Missouri
• Our Lady of Good Counsel, Diocesan Shrine of the Divine Mercy, in Kansas City
• Holy Rosary Parish in Clinton, Missouri
• Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Redemptorist in Kansas City, Missouri
• Franciscan Prayer Center, in Independence, Missouri
• Every time when, on the days determined by the local Ordinary for the Year of Faith . . . in any sacred place, they take part in a solemn Eucharistic celebration or the Liturgy of the Hours, adding the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form:
◊ All Solemnities of the Lord and the Blessed Virgin Mary
◊ Feasts of the Holy Apostles
◊ Feast of St. John Francis Regis, June 16, 2013
◊ Feasts of St. Joseph, March 19, and May 1, 2013
◊ Diocesan Masses for the Year of Faith Celebrated by the Bishop
• All faithful who on March 10, 2013 make a devout visit to the baptistery or other place in which they received the sacrament of Baptism, if they renew their baptismal promises in any legitimate form. For those who for any reason cannot return to the Church of their original Baptism, may fulfill these requirements at either of the two diocesan Cathedrals or parish church within the territorial limits of this diocese.
The Apostolic Penitentiary also provides in their decree the following provision:
Faithful who are truly repentant and are unable to take part in the solemn celebrations for serious reasons because of illness or who are otherwise truly impeded from making the pilgrimage may receive the Plenary Indulgence on the same conditions, if, united in mind and spirit with the faithful present, devoutly praying the Our Father, the Profession of faith in any legitimate form, and other prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father in conformity with the objectives of the Year of Faith, offering up their suffering or the hardship in their lives.
The Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary and the particular designations for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph are valid only for the Year of Faith.
Most Reverend Robert W. Finn
Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph
1 “An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin. The faithful can gain indulgences for themselves or apply them to the dead.” Ibid.
2 The courses are listed on the diocesan website at http://www.diocese-kcsj.org/content/education/indulgences/.