The Handbook of Indulgences 1988 says 'To be capable of gaining indulgences a person must be baptized, not excommunicated, and in the state of grace (ie free from all serious sin) at least at the time the prescribed works are completed.'
So this Virtual Pilgrimage is designed to help those who are infirm or housebound to unite themselves spiritually with those making Holy Door pilgrimages to Holy Cross, Kincumber. As usual, whether the grace of an indulgence is full or partial is up to God. Since St Thomas Aquinas says, 'The benefit of a single grace is greater than all the material value of the whole world.', we shouldn't neglect doing our best to be granted even the smallest ones. Even St Paul encourages us, 'The more grace is multiplied among people, the more thanksgiving there will be, to the glory of God.' 2 Cor 4:15b
So let's begin.
Holy Cross Kincumber was built in 1842 with convict-hewn sandstone blocks, at a time when access to this part of the world was only possible by boat. Next door is the convent and orphanage built by the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart under the guidance of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop. On the other side is an historic cemetery.
Here's what the exterior of the Holy Door at Holy Cross Kincumber looks like:
Firstly we need to express our contrition to God for our sins. To obtain the full indulgence requires going to the Sacrament of Penance (a.k.a confession) and receiving God's mercy in a personal way. Since for some that may not be possible within the 'week before or week after' time requirement, we can pray an Act of Contrition. Choose which one you like most and pray that...
O my God, I am sorry and beg pardon for all my sins and detest them above all things, because they deserve Your dreadful
punishments, because they have crucified my loving Saviour, Jesus Christ, and, most of all, because they offend Your
infinite goodness. And I firmly resolve, by the help of Your grace, never to offend You again, and carefully avoid the occasions of sin. Amen
My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against You
whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with Your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our saviour Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In His name, my God, have mercy. Amen.
The next thing is receiving sacramental Holy Communion. Again, that might not be possible for many, but instead we can pray a prayer of spiritual Communion. In the life of St Catherine of Siena we read that Jesus compared these types of communion to gold and silver respectively, and that both pleased Him. Choose to pray the one you like most...
'My Jesus, I believe that You are truly present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to possess You within my soul. Since I am unable now to receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as already being there, and unite myself wholly to You; never permit me to be separated from You.' St Alphonsus Ligouri
'At Your feet, O my Jesus, I prostrate myself and I offer You the repentance of my contrite heart, which is humbled in its nothingness and in Your holy presence. I adore You in the Sacrament of Your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I desire to receive You into the poor dwelling that my heart offers You. While waiting for the happiness of sacramental communion, I wish to possess You in spirit. Come to me, O my Jesus, since I, for my part, am coming to You! May Your love embrace my whole being in life and in death. I believe in You, I hope in You, I love You. Amen.' Cardinal Merry del Val
The third thing is choosing your intention. Any indulgence can be obtained for oneself (as a way of kick-starting or renewing your relationship with God) or for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Once you have chosen, we can enter the Holy Door with as much humility and trust as possible.
Now we pray an Our Father, the prayer Jesus Himself taught us. Choose where you would like to pray it, near the tabernacle or near one of the crucifixes.
Your kingdom come;
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.
The next step is to reaffirm our faith and belief in God, and we do that by praying the Creed. The Apostles Creed is the simplest version, and the most ancient, containing all the essential beliefs for a full Christian life. Choose whether you would like to pray it in union with the faith of St Joseph or as an act of trust in God's Divine Mercy
the Creator of Heaven and Earth,
and in Jesus Christ His only Son, Our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended into Hell,
on the third day He rose again from the dead.
He ascended into Heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Holy Catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body
and life everlasting. Amen.
The next step is to pray for the Pope. Given that Pope Francis has shown such a tender love for the Mother of Jesus, it makes sense to pray for him in union with her. Choose which image of Our Lady you like best, as we pray the Hail Holy Queen for Pope Francis because it refers to her as the Mother of Mercy.
Hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve,
to thee do we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, O gracious advocate,
Thine eyes of mercy towards us,
and after this our exile,
show unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
If you would like to pray extra for Pope Francis, go right ahead.
The last part of the virtual pilgrimage is a Work of Mercy. Of these the easiest is to pray for the living and for the dead. In this particular holy place it makes sense to ask St Mary of the Cross MacKillop to pray with us for our loved ones, because she herself prayed in this place. Choose which image of her that you like best.
Ever generous and merciful God, You inspired St Mary of the Cross MacKillop to live her life faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and constant in bringing hope and encouragement to those who were disheartened, lonely or needy. With confidence in Your generous providence and joining with St Mary of the Cross MacKillop I ask that You grant my request ............................ for .......................... May our faith and hope be fired afresh by the Holy Spirit so that we too, like St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, may live with courage, trust and openness. Ever generous and merciful God hear my prayer, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace.
May his/her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Our virtual pilgrimage is now at an end. Come back any time during this Jubilee Year of Mercy to pray it again (it finishes 20 Nov 2016).