On December 31 & January 1, the Church gives us the opportunity to receive two plenary indulgences. An indulgence is a favor given to us by the Church to atone for the effects of our sins. We have the option to atone for such effects in this life through our good works, prayers, indulgences, sufferings, and sacrifices or in the life to come in Purgatory. Only one plenary indulgence can be gained on any given day. A plenary indulgence is the full remission of the effects of our sins, a partial indulgence is the partial remission of the effects. We will sing the Te Deum at Old St. Mary’s following the 9:15 a.m. Mass and at Sacred Heart following the 11:00 a.m. Mass on December 31. The Veni Creator will be sung following the 10:00 a.m. Sung Mass at Sacred Heart on January 1.
Read more about Indulgences here.
From the Enchiridion of Indulgences:
- The Te Deum. PLENARY INDULGENCE when recited publicly on the last day of the year. Otherwise a partial indulgence is granted to those who recite the Te Deum in thanksgiving.
- Visit here for the Te Deum: http://www.preces-latinae.org/thesaurus/Trinitas/TeDeum.html
- The Te Deum is a hymn of Thanksgiving composed by St. Ambrose. You can listen to it chanted from the Vatican on December 31 in 2015 here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_acl374WY8
- “Come, Holy Spirit, Creator Blest.” PLENARY INDULGENCE if recited on the first of January or on the feast of the Pentecost. Otherwise, a partial indulgence is granted to those who recite it.
- Visit here for the Veni Creator: http://www.preces-latinae.org/thesaurus/Hymni/VeniCreator.html
- The Veni Creator is attributed to Rabanus Maurus. It is a hymn invoking the Holy Spirit for assistance. It is especially used on New Year’s Day, Ordinations, Papal Conclaves, Pentecost, and other occasions when the assistance of the Holy Spirit is needed. You can listen to it chanted here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29Dod0Spapg
The usual conditions for a Plenary Indulgence are as follows:
- Sacramental Confession (within 21 days),
- Communion (usually on the said day, but within 21 days),
- Prayer for the intention of the Holy Father, all to be performed within days of each other if not at the same time, and
- Detachment from all sin, including venial sin.