Letter of the Master of the Order to the Dominican Family on the Jubilee Celebrations of St. Thomas Aquinas
Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul
Goa, India, 25 January 2023
Prot n. 50/22/677 Jubilee St. Thomas Aquinas
Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Dominican Family,
We celebrate the 7th Centenary of the canonization of our esteemed brother St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church, on 18 July 2023 and his 750th death anniversary on 7 March 2024. We gratefully remember that in 1974, St. Paul VI wrote the Apostolic Letter Lumen Ecclesiae to commemorate the 7th centenary of the death of the Angelic Doctor.
In order to enkindle further our spirit of gratitude to the Lord, the Giver of all graces, we petitioned the Holy See for the granting of plenary indulgence (see attached rescript) on the properly disposed faithful who will participate in the Eucharistic celebrations organized by the Dominican Family in our churches and schools on the important occasions of the jubilee of the canonization and death of St. Thomas Aquinas, and on the faithful who will make pilgrimages to Churches, shrines and oratories under his patronage. The double jubilee celebrations will be from 28 January 2023 to 28 January 2025. Please provide the necessary catechesis on the meaning of indulgence as well as the conditions prescribed by Holy Mother Church for its worthy reception.
As a Doctor of the Church, St. Thomas remains an excellent model and teacher for us today. As St. Paul VI noted, the Angelic Doctor conceived of “the relationship between the whole created order and the order of religious truths and especially of the Christian message” not in terms of opposition but a of certain ordered harmony: “Grace does not diminish nature but brings it to fulfilment, while nature is subordinate to grace, reason to faith and human love to divine charity”. Moreover, in faithful fidelity to St. Dominic who either spoke with God (prayer) or about God (preaching), Thomas enunciated a way to hold in fruitful tension the contemplative (study and common prayer) and apostolic dimensions of our Dominican life: “For even as it is better to enlighten than merely to shine, so is it better to give to others the fruits of one’s contemplation than merely to contemplate”2. Mindful of this important dimension of Dominican spirituality, our general chapters have reminded us to maintain always the harmony and synergy between our Dominican life and mission.
May our celebration of the double jubilee in the life of St. Thomas propel us to serve God and the Church with great dedication and profound humility – he told Reginald -“mihi videtur ut palea, all that I have written seems like straw to me”; and to seek no reward in this world except to be with God – Domine, non nisi Te, “Lord, nothing but you.”
Fr. Gerard Francisco Timoner III, OP
Master of the Order
The Apostolic Penitentiary, with the intention of heightening the devotion of the faithful and for the salvation of their souls, by virtue of the powers conferred upon it in a very special way by Francis, Pope by divine providence from our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, considering the prayers recently addressed to it by the Reverend Gerard Timoner III, Master General of the Order of Friars Preachers, on the occasion of the solemn celebrations in honor of Saint Thomas Aquinas, which will take place between 28 January 2023 and 28 January 2025, the Apostolic Penitentiary, therefore, drawing on the heavenly treasures of the Church, willingly grants a plenary indulgence, which the truly penitent and charitable faithful can enjoy under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff), and which can be applied by way of suffrage also to the souls of the faithful departed still in purgatory, wherever they make a pilgrimage to a holy place connected with the Order of Friars Preachers, and there devoutly take part in the jubilee ceremonies, or at least devote a suitable time to pious recollection, concluding with the Lord’s Prayer, the symbol of faith and invocations of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of Saint Thomas Aquinas.
The elderly, the sick and those who are unable to leave their homes for any serious reason will also be able to obtain a plenary indulgence. If, despising all their sins and with the intention of fulfilling the three usual conditions as soon as possible, they spiritually join in the Jubilee celebrations in front of an image of St Thomas Aquinas, offering to the merciful God their prayers as well as the sorrows and ills of their lives.
To facilitate access to God’s forgiveness through the power of the keys in pastoral charity, the Penitentiary urges priests of the Order of Friars Preachers to offer themselves with prompt and generous hearts to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation and to administer Holy Communion often to the sick.
This Decree is valid only for this commemoration of St. Thomas Aquinas, notwithstanding any circumstances to the contrary. Given at Rome, from the Palace of the Apostolic Penitentiary, on 20 January 2023.
 The expression “quodlibet templum Ordini Fratrum Praedicatorum ubicumque spectans” implies a juridical relevance as well as a pastorally active presence and not only a historical link. The Indulgence can be obtained in all the churches, shrines, chapels, etc. whose pastoral care is currently entrusted to us.