In order to avail of this great manifestation of God's mercy, we should satisfy the following conditions:
- A visit to a parish church or a Franciscan church with the prescribed time where the Our Father and the Creed are to be recited;
- The Sacrament of Reconciliation should be received during this time;
- One should receive Holy Communion
- One should pray for the intetions of our Holy Father the Pope (an Our Father, a Hail Mary and a Glory Be, or other suitable prayers);
- The disposition of one's soul must be such as to exclude every attachment to sin, even venial.
How St. Francis obtained the Indulgence
One night, in the year 1216, St. Francis was immersed in prayer and contemplation in the little church of Porziuncola, Assisi, in central Italy, then suddenly, a dazzling light flooded the church, and Christ appeared above the altar, clothed in light, and beside him, His most holy Mother, surrounded by a multitude of angels. Francis adored the Lord in silence, with his face to the ground!
Our Lord asked him what he desired for the salvation of souls. St. Francis' reply was immediate: "Most Holy Father, although I am a miserable sinner, I beseech you to grant full and generous forgiveness to all who visit this church, having repented and confessed, with complete remission of all their sins."
"What you ask is great, O Brother Francis," answered the Lord, "but you are worthy of greater things, and greater things you shall have. Therefore I accept your prayer, but on condition that you ask this indulgence on my behalf of my vicar on earth."
Francis went immediately before his Holiness Pope Honorius III, who was staying at nearby Perugia at that time, and described the vision in with his characteristic sincerity and simplicity.
The Pope listened to him attentively and, after some hesitation, gave his approval. "For how many years do you want this indulgence?" Francis immediately replied, "Holy Father, I do not ask for years, but for souls", and happily made his way to the door. The Pontiff called him back, asking, "Why do you require no document?" "Holy Father", Francis answered, "for me your word is sufficient! If this indulgence is of God's making He shall take care of manifesting His work; I have no need of any document, the charter must be the most Holy Virgin Mary, Christ shall be the solicitor and the Angels the witnesses".
Some days later, Francis said to the assembly gathered at Porziuncola, with tears in his eyes, "My brothers, I want to send you all to Paradise!"