About the Great Pardon of Assisi:
Starting the evening of August 1st until sundown on August 2nd each year, you may take part in the Great Pardon of Assisi.
Origin of the Great Pardon of Assisi:
When Jesus and the Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Francis in the year 1216 in the tiny Portuincula (the chapel he built), Jesus asked Francis what he wanted for the salvation of souls. Francis humbly replied that he would like to obtain a plenary indulgence (elimination of temporal punishment due to sin) for all those who entered the Portuincula, so long as they were truly contrite and had confessed their sins.
Up until that point in history there were only three such places to receive a plenary indulgence: the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, or the shrine of Saint James the Great in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Most people could not afford to undertake such travel.
Jesus granted Francis this wish, but stipulated he should first present his request to the Pope. He obtained approval from Pope Honorius III in 1216 and this became known as the Portuincula Indulgence, or the Great Pardon of Assisi.
You can obtain the Plenary Indulgence of Assisi in any Parish church throughout the world.
If you happen to be in Assisi on August 1st or 2nd, you can also earn this pardon for yourself or for any departed family member by visiting the Portuincula or any parish church in Assisi. Originally this also included any Franciscan church throughout the world, but was extended to include any Catholic church (subject to the conditions as shown below).
The conditions to obtain the Plenary Indulgence of the Forgiveness of Assisi, as it is properly called, are as follows:
1. Sacramental Confession within 8 days either before or after visiting the Portuincuca or any Franciscan Church in Assisi or anywhere else in the world.
2. Participation in Holy Mass and Eucharist within 8 days at any church before or after visiting the Portuincuca or any Franciscan Church in Assisi or anywhere else in the world..
3. Recitation of the Apostles Creed, Our Father, and a prayer for the Holy Father’s intention.
The Portuincula is now inside the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels at the foot of the town of Assisi.
Almost all tours stop here either on the way to Assisi or upon leaving. The Basilica is immense and the Portuincula is actually inside the Basilica. We wonder what St. Francis, who loved simplicity, would have thought of such an immense Basilica being built here…but of course the Portuincula would probably not have lasted if it were not inside the Basilica.
As you can see here, it is quite small but open to visitors.