The indulgence has been authorised in an effort to encourage faith and holiness, and is available to anyone taking part in either a public or private devotion to the Virgin Mary.
Catholic News Service reports that the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary Cardinal J Francis Stafford says Christian can turn to Mary in their effort to become more holy.
“Mary calls the faithful to her son and his sacrifice and to the love of the Father," Cardinal Stafford said.
He added that the indulgence can also be applied to the souls of the faithful in purgatory.
Catholics can receive the indulgence during two time frames.
Pilgrims visiting the Massabielle grotto, where Mary appeared to St Bernadette,
during the Lourdes jubilee year, which runs for a year from this Saturday (8 December), the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Pilgrims who visit any public sanctuary, shrine or other worthy place dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes may receive the indulgence between for nine days from 2 February.
Cardinal Stafford said that, to obtain the special indulgence, one must fulfill the normal requirements set by the Church for all plenary indulgences. These include the person going to confession within a reasonably short period of time, receiving the Eucharist, and praying for the intentions of the pope, all in a spirit of total detachment from the attraction of sin.
Pope OKs plenary indulgence for Lourdes' 150th anniversary, 05/12/07)
Plenary Indulgence for the 150th anniversary of Lourdes, Vatican In formation Servive 05/12/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
St Bernadette pilgrimages
St Bernadette (Wikipedia)
Plenary indulgence (Wikipedia)
Pope to make Lourdes pilgrimage (CathNews 14/11/07)
Priest offers $5000 to disprove miracles of Lourdes (CathNews 30/08/04)
Italian woman healed at Lourdes (CathNews 15/11/05)
Church probes new Lourdes cure (CathNews 09/09/03)
Stronger Pope thanks God for Lourdes pilgrimage (CathNews 19/08/04)
6 Dec 2007