The Apostolic Penitentiary issued a decree on December 8, 2020, formally announcing the decision of Pope Francis to celebrate the Year of Saint Joseph through December 8, 2021. Special opportunities to receive a plenary indulgence were also included, subject to the usual conditions: sacramental confession, reception of Holy Communion, prayer for the intentions of the Pope, and total detachment to all sin, including venial sin.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Holy See made provision in its decree that persons who are currently unable to go to Mass or confession because of public health restrictions may defer reception of those two sacraments until they are able to do so. Those who are sick, suffering, or homebound may also receive the plenary indulgence by fulfilling as much as they are able and by offering their sorrows and sufferings to God through Saint Joseph, consoler of the sick and patron saint for receiving a good death.
The following prayers and activities have been enriched with a plenary indulgence:
- meditate for at least 30 minutes on the Lord’s Prayer (“Our Father”) or participate in a spiritual retreat of at least one day that includes a meditation on Saint Joseph;
- perform a corporal or spiritual work of mercy, inspired by the life and example of Saint Joseph;
- pray the Rosary together as a family or a couple, modeling the virtues of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph;
- dedicate with confidence their daily work to the protection of Saint Joseph the Worker, including the efforts of those who are unemployed, underemployed, or seeking more dignified work;
- devoutly recite the Litany of Saint Joseph (from the Latin Church; available at https://usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers-and-devotions/litanies/litany-of-saint-joseph), some or all of the Akathistos hymn to Saint Joseph (from the Byzantine Churches), or another suitable prayer in each liturgical tradition, especially for the intentions of persecuted Catholics in the Church and around the world, and for the relief of all Christians who suffer persecution; or
- devoutly recite an another approved prayer to Saint Joseph, for example the “To you, O blessed Joseph” (available at https://usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers-and-devotions/prayers/prayer-to-st-joseph-after-rosary), especially on various feasts of Saint Joseph: March 19 (his solemnity), May 1 (St. Joseph the Worker), the Sunday after Christmas (Holy Family), St. Joseph’s Sunday (Byzantine Catholics), or on the 19th day of each month, or each Wednesday, traditionally dedicated to honor his memory with pious devotions.