Angel Tree & The Year of Mercy Indulgence and the Illogic of Waste

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Angel Tree & The Year of Mercy Indulgence and the Illogic of Waste

I’ve writ­ten about the indul­gences avail­able for the dead in pur­ga­tory dur­ing the year of Mercy by pass­ing through the des­ig­nated holy doors and my quest as a daily mass attendee to obtain as many as pos­si­ble while thru mid November.

Yes­ter­day for the first time dur­ing Pope Fran­cis’ declared Year of Mercy cir­cum­stances I found myself attend­ing mass at a des­ig­nated Church of pil­grim­age rather than sim­ply pass­ing through the doors either before or after attend­ing mass at my own parish to obtain the avail­able indulge for a soul in purgatory.

The parish St. Joseph’s in Fitch­burg which was built in an area once pop­u­lated by the French Cana­dian pop­u­la­tion that came down dur­ing the thriv­ing fac­tory days of the city, was once much smaller but the build­ing was expanded after World War 2 and now has the largest capac­ity of the remain­ing churches in the city, but even with the con­sol­i­da­tion was less than half full for mass yesterday.

How­ever even with that lesser crowd as a sat in the “Old” church with the priest’s back to me (the lay­out is a Cross with the altar at the cen­ter of the “t”) It occurred to me that every per­son receiv­ing Holy Com­mu­nion at that mass had auto­mat­i­cally ful­filled most of the require­ments for a year of Mercy indul­gence, mean­ing that there were hun­dreds of poten­tial indul­gences dis­pensed at that mass, sev­eral times for all the masses each week at St. Joseph’s.

That meant that the con­gre­ga­tion at St Joe’s had the poten­tial to eas­ily secure indul­gences for every per­son buried at St. Joseph’s ceme­tery down the road dur­ing the course of the Year of Mercy with plenty to spare with almost no alter­ation to their reg­u­lar rou­tine, all that would be nec­es­sary was sacra­men­tal con­fes­sion once every two weeks!

That was a com­fort­ing thought that was fol­lowed by a sober­ing ques­tion: How many of those in atten­dance were actu­ally both­er­ing to do so?

That ques­tion nagged at me, and it reminded me of a sad story con­cern­ing a won­der­ful char­ity named Angel Tree that obtains Christ­mas gifts for the chil­dren of those in jail.

There was a fel­low in prison who had six chil­dren by six dif­fer­ent moth­ers who had not heard of Angel Tree. He was informed of it by a fel­low inmate who had heard about it through the prison min­istry. He was told that all he had to do was go and fill out the forms and each of his chil­dren would receive a Christ­mas gift that year.

Weeks passed and noth­ing hap­pened and the dead­line was upon them. His fel­low came up to him on that last day say­ing that if he wanted gifts for his kids he would have to come to the ser­vice that evening and fill out the paper­work oth­er­wise it would be too late.

He declined, opt­ing for a card game. His kids got nothing.

Right now in every Catholic dio­cese in the word there is a Holy Door. In the United States there are hun­dreds of them. If you are in the con­gre­ga­tion at the des­ig­nated church con­tain­ing that door you have the poten­tial to earn the indul­gence for a soul in pur­ga­tory on a weekly or even daily basis.

The year of Mercy ends Novem­ber 20th mean­ing that as of today if you go to daily mass you can secure poten­tially 168 indul­gences between now and then. If you attend mass weekly at once of those loca­tions you have the poten­tial to earn 24 indul­gences before the year closes.

I sub­mit that it’s a hor­ri­ble waste to not take advan­tage of this time and even more so if you attend one of the churches on that list. In the words of James T. Kirk

Take the time and earn one of those indul­gences. A soul in pur­ga­tory will thank you

I’ve written about the indulgences available for the dead in purgatory during the year of Mercy by passing through the designated holy doors and my quest as a daily mass attendee to obtain as many as possible while thru mid November.

Yesterday for the first time during Pope Francis’ declared Year of Mercy circumstances I found myself attending mass at a designated Church of pilgrimage rather than simply passing through the doors either before or after attending mass at my own parish to obtain the available indulge for a soul in purgatory.

The parish St. Joseph’s in Fitchburg which was built in an area once populated by the French Canadian population that came down during the thriving factory days of the city, was once much smaller but the building was expanded after World War 2 and now has the largest capacity of the remaining churches in the city, but even with the consolidation was less than half full for mass yesterday.

However even with that lesser crowd as a sat in the “Old” church with the priest’s back to me (the layout is a Cross with the altar at the center of the “t”) It occurred to me that every person receiving Holy Communion at that mass had automatically fulfilled most of the requirements for a year of Mercy indulgence, meaning that there were hundreds of potential indulgences dispensed at that mass, several times for all the masses each week at St. Joseph’s.

That meant that the congregation at St Joe’s had the potential to easily secure indulgences for every person buried at St. Joseph’s cemetery down the road during the course of the Year of Mercy with plenty to spare with almost no alteration to their regular routine, all that would be necessary was sacramental confession once every two weeks!

That was a comforting thought that was followed by a sobering question: How many of those in attendance were actually bothering to do so?

That question nagged at me, and it reminded me of a sad story concerning a wonderful charity named Angel Tree that obtains Christmas gifts for the children of those in jail.

There was a fellow in prison who had six children by six different mothers who had not heard of Angel Tree. He was informed of it by a fellow inmate who had heard about it through the prison ministry. He was told that all he had to do was go and fill out the forms and each of his children would receive a Christmas gift that year.

Weeks passed and nothing happened and the deadline was upon them. His fellow came up to him on that last day saying that if he wanted gifts for his kids he would have to come to the service that evening and fill out the paperwork otherwise it would be too late.

He declined, opting for a card game. His kids got nothing.

Right now in every Catholic diocese in the word there is a Holy Door. In the United States there are hundreds of them. If you are in the congregation at the designated church containing that door you have the potential to earn the indulgence for a soul in purgatory on a weekly or even daily basis.

The year of Mercy ends November 20th meaning that as of today if you go to daily mass you can secure potentially 168 indulgences between now and then. If you attend mass weekly at once of those locations you have the potential to earn 24 indulgences before the year closes.

I submit that it’s a horrible waste to not take advantage of this time and even more so if you attend one of the churches on that list. In the words of James T. Kirk

Take the time and earn one of those indulgences. A soul in purgatory will thank you