To obtain a Jubilee indulgence, a believer must fulfill certain prescribed interior and exterior acts, as outlined in Pope John Paul II's Bull of Indiction of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.

The faithful may gain a plenary indulgence — either for themselves or for a deceased person in purgatory — each time they perform these acts, but they cannot obtain more than one indulgence a day. Nor can they obtain an indulgence for another living person, since that person may obtain one for him- or herself.

Here's how to obtain the indulgence in five simple steps:

1. Worthily receive the sacrament of confession.

2. Participate in Mass and receive holy Communion.

3. Pray for the Holy Father's intentions.

4. Be willing to undergo a true conversion of heart.

5. Within eight days of confession, and preferably on the same day as receiving Communion, perform one of the following exterior acts of prayer, sacrifice, charity or alms-giving:

l Make a pilgrimage to one of the Church-approved Jubilee pilgrimage sites around the world, including any of those designated within your own diocese (ask your pastor or call your diocese to find out the local designated Jubilee Year pilgrimage sites).

The visit must include either devout participation in Mass or another liturgical celebration, such as lauds or vespers; a pious exercise such as the Stations of the Cross, the rosary or eucharistic adoration; or the recitation of the “Akathistos” hymn in honor of the Mother of God. These pious exercises must end with the Our Father, the profession of faith in any approved form and a prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

l Visit someone in need, such as the sick, the imprisoned, the elderly living alone or the handicapped as though visiting Christ himself.

l Offer up a personal sacrifice, such as abstaining for at least one full day from unnecessary consumption — smoking, alcohol or fasting, etc.

l Donate a proportionate amount of money to the poor or to a religious or social cause that helps people, especially those that benefit abandoned children, troubled youth, elderly who are in need or foreigners in other countries who are struggling with their living conditions.

l Donate a substantial portion of personal free time to activities which benefit the community.

What could be more fruitful for our souls and those suffering in purgatory than gaining one or more Jubilee indulgences this year?

— Karen Walker