One night of the year 1216 St. Francis a strong carnal temptation to win undressed and jumped without hesitation in the middle of the bush surrounding his cell. Immediately the bush turned into a beautiful rose garden without thorns. There appeared two angels took him in the chapel of Santa Maria Porziuncola, where he found waiting for him, sitting on thrones and surrounded by numerous light shining angels, Christ and the Madonna.
The Savior asked him what reward he wanted for his heroic act. St. Francis answered: “I wish to grant an extraordinary indulgence to anyone, confessed, repented and acquitted, to enter into this chapel.” The Lord replied: “What you ask, or Francis, is great, but you are worthy of greater things.” The only condition, oh Francis, is to submit a request to the Pope my vicar on earth.
Francis and without waiting in a blaze of joy went to the Pope in those days dwelt in Perugia and told him the fact as it was done. Pope Honorius III listened carefully to the story then with some hesitation, determined by the singular proposal Francis asked: “How many years do you want me on all’indulgenza fixed.
St. Francis answered: “Holy Father, like give me your holiness, not years, but souls.” And the Pope replied, “How you want souls?”
Francis said: “Holy Father, I want, if it likes to your Holiness, that those who come to this church and confessed and repented, conceding absolved by a priest, are freed from guilt and from punishment in heaven and on earth, from the day baptism day and time of entry into the church.”.
The Pope replied: “Much is what you ask, or Francis is not customary for the Roman Curia to grant such an indulgence.”.
Francis replied: “Lord, I ask not of me, but I wonder by the person who sent me, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Then the Pope immediately broke three times, saying: “Order that you did.”.
About to take leave, the pontiff asked Francis – happy for the grant obtained – where to go without a document certifying the result. “Holy Father,” said Francis, I am content to your word: if this indulgence is the work of God, He will think to show his work, I do not need any document, paper must be the Blessed Virgin Mary, Christ Angel’s notary and the witnesses.
Il Pontefice autorizzò Francesco a convocare alla Porziuncola sette vescovi dell’Umbria, The Pope Francesco authorized to convene the Porziuncola seven bishops of Umbria, before who promulgate this extraordinary privilege. Thus arose, for the Porziuncola, the moment of glory, because of a Plenary Toties quoties dell’insigne privilege, which will then be called the “Pardon of Assisi.” Quest’indulgenza will be known and widespread, from the second half of the century. XIII until now, growing in importance every day, with moments when, as in sec. XV, exploded for his fame and the occurrence of crowds from all over the world. The crowds had the highest turnout in the fifteenth century, when, for the solemnity of Forgiveness (1-2 August), saw the Porziuncola over 200 thousand pilgrims. Then, the Friars Minor guardians of the shrine and the popes they realized that it was necessary to enlarge the space where pray, confess, communicate, and perform any other act of devotion.
Thus arose, at the behest of Pope St. Pius V (1569), the great basilica of Porziuncola, which in 1909 will be proclaimed “patriarchal” in the papal chapel and, in the same year, church, convent and territories annexed property will be declared by the Holy See, with permanent residence of the Friars Minor and the residence of the Minister Provincial of the same Friars Minor of Umbria.
Such indulgence is lucrative for themselves or for the souls in Purgatory, by all the faithful every day to once a day throughout the year in that holy place and, for once, by noon on August 1st at midnight the next day, or with the consent of the local, in the previous or next Sunday (from noon on Saturday until midnight Sunday), visit a Franciscan church or any other minor basilica or cathedral or parish church.
To acquire a plenary indulgence must fulfill three conditions: sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of the Pope (Our Father, Hail Mary and a Glory Be). It also requires that both detachment from any inclination to sin, even venial.
Document on the Pardon of Assisi, issued by Pope John Paul II
Portiuncolae sacra aedes: decree.
The sacred building of the Porziuncola, already the Pope Honorius III, for the prayer of St. Francis, not without divine inspiration, enriched by that famous Pardon of Assisi, and where the same spirit of St. Francis was happily full of love its extremes (he died), so it became for centuries the church of all the Franciscan religious, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mother of God, excited the minds of the faithful to a sense of compassion and mercy, so to obtain, in ‘attitude of all the Christian faithful and the humble undeniable feeling that there, almost all parts of the world, came together and still today, even more frequently, Zolli, driven by the same emotions.
So the Popes, dispensers of heavenly charisms entrusted to them, always showed outstanding reasons width toward the spiritual Portiuncula and expressed a particular love, such as we like to recall the example of Paul VI, of happy memory, he called the Porziuncola a place to receive a plenary indulgence, and to confirm peace with God, and John Paul II, now pastor of the Church for God’s mercy, proclaimed Porziuncola as a wonderful source of the original mission which Francis and his children spread widely among people the name of Christ. Rightly convinced of what the Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor has given us in his letters officio reverently repeating the prayers of Christians visiting from wherever that place, reciting an Our Father and the heart of the creed, the usual conditions, ie sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff, always allowing for a plenary indulgence everyday and Penitentieria, urges Christians to provide for the spiritual wealth of the sum, with Apostolic authority, so willingly support the received prayers, by this decree, trusting that excites them the indulgence of forgiveness and renewal to reconciliation with God and escape the sin, exercise generosity, love of filial respect and love for the Church and thus procure the works of justice and operate the peace among men. Rome, at the Penitentiary, 15 July 1988.
Card. LUIGI DADAGLIO Penitentiary. M.
(Sacra Penitenzieria Apostolica, Prot. N. 47/88/1, Porziuncola,
Prot. N. 146/1988: “Portiunculae sacra aedes”)