I’ve been asked about good places for family pilgrimages in the Raleigh area. I live by St. Francis of Assisi Church, so I love to make regular trips with my children with snacks and bicycles to the Blessed Sacrament chapel. After that, we play on the playground or wander through the grounds, discovering flowers here, and statues there. I think St Francis is particularly child friendly because it is so big. There is always a peaceful place to sit, and if it begins to rain, there are many cozy rooms in which to color. The main sanctuary’s altar has a relic of St.Francis in it, which can be reverenced with a bow, or by kissing the altar. There are two gothic style statues in the sanctuary, one of Our Lady and Baby Jesus, and another of St. Francis, both with candles. The prayer intention book is there to sign. Also, there is the Stations of the Cross, with the usual indulgences applied. And there is something really special. The parish has a Portiuncula of its own! That’s right, a replica of the little church St. Francis restored when he was a hermit, and in which he heard the voice of Christ asking him to rebuild his Church. There is a plenary indulgence for visiting a Portiuncula.
To obtain the Portiuncula plenary indulgence, a person must visit the Chapel of Our Lady of the Angels at Assisi, or a Franciscan sanctuary, or one’s parish church, with the intention of honoring Our Lady of the Angels. Then perform the work of reciting the Creed and Our Father and pray for the Pope’s designated intentions. You should be free, at least intentionally, of attachment to venial and mortal sin, and truly repentant. Make your sacramental confession 8 days before or after. Participate at assist at Mass and receive Holy Communion 8 days before or after.