Feast of Forgiveness

Forgiveness, Feast of

August 1-2
The Festa del Perdono, or Feast of Forgiveness, is observed annually in Assisi, Italy, where St. Francis built his humble hermitage, known as the Porciúncula ("little portion"), in the 13th century. It was here on a small plot of land containing a ruined chapel that St. Francis experienced his religious conversion and began to preach and gather disciples. He restored the chapel and claimed it as his "portion" or "little inheritance." In 1209 he received papal permission to establish the Franciscan monastic order, the Friars Minor, urging his followers to maintain the chapel as a sacred place.
Porciúncula also refers to the plenary indulgence that used to be given to those who visited this sanctuary on August 2, the date set by Pope Honorius III in 1221. Although in the beginning the indulgence could only be gained in the Porciúncula, the privilege was eventually extended to all churches having a connection with the Franciscan order, and the time for visiting the sanctuary was extended to the period between the afternoon of August 1 and sunset on August 2.
St. Francis instituted the two-day Feast of Forgiveness because it upset him that by going off to fight in the Crusades a sinful man could escape punishment in purgatory. Believing that there should be a more peaceful means to gain salvation, St. Francis received the Pope's permission for Roman Catholics to make an annual pilgrimage to Assisi to renew their relationship with the church.
The August 2 feast was brought to New Mexico by the early Spanish settlers, and it is still observed in the small town of Arroyo Hondo, about 80 miles north of Santa Fe. Although at one time it involved two processions—one beginning at the village church's main entrance and another, a quarter of a mile away, involving only members of the flagellant brotherhood—today the celebration in Arroyo Hondo that once drew large crowds has nearly died out.
See also St. Francis of Assisi, Feast of
CONTACTS:
Italian Government Tourist Board
630 Fifth Ave., Ste. 1565
New York, NY 10111
212-245-5618; fax: 212-586-9249
www.italiantourism.com
Order of Friars Minor
Via S. Maria Mediatrices 25
Rome, 00165 Italy
39-6-6849-19; fax: 39-6-6380-292
www.ofm.org
SOURCES:
FolkAmerHol-1999, p. 335
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
"I want this feast of forgiveness, sharing and care for others to contribute to the harmony that our nation badly needs," he said.
We need to come with our hunger and need and humbly share in the promised feast of forgiveness, peace and hope.