Catholics can receive a plenary indulgence by praying before a Nativity scene

Catholics will be able to receive a plenary indulgence by praying before a Nativity scene in a Franciscan church as part of the 800th-anniversary celebrations of the Rule of St Francis and the creation of the first Nativity scene, CathNews has reported.

The plenary indulgence is available from December 8, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to February 2, 2024, the feast of the Presentation in the Temple of Our Lord Jesus Christ, by praying before a Nativity scene in a Franciscan church.

Pope Francis prays during a visit to the Chapel of the Nativity, a grotto in Greccio, Italy, where tradition says the first Nativity scene was assembled by St Francis of Assisi in 1223 (CNS/Vatican Media)

On the feast of St Francis of Assisi on October 4, the faithful gathered at the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy, to honour the beloved Italian saint and celebrate the 800th anniversary of the approval of the Rule of St Francis (1223) and the creation of the Nativity scene in Greccio.

As part of the celebration of this Franciscan Centenary, the Conference of the Franciscan Family asked Pope Francis for the approval of the plenary indulgence by “visiting the churches run by Franciscan families throughout the world and stopping in prayer in front of the Nativity scenes set up there”.

The Apostolic Penitentiary welcomed the request, allowing the faithful to receive this indulgence under the usual conditions.

Those who are sick or unable to participate physically can obtain the indulgence by offering their sufferings up to the Lord or by “carrying out practices of piety”.

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