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The Jubilee of Saint Thomas Aquinas

7 March 2024

The Jubilee of Saint Thomas Aquinas

By Joey Belleza

On 7 March 1274, Saint Thomas Aquinas passed from this world to the Father. Only fifty years old, the legacy of his writings and his personal holiness continues to inspire the Church in our time. Today, on the 750th anniversary of his passing, we at the Christian Heritage Centre would like to remind you about the ongoing Jubilee of Thomas Aquinas proclaimed by Pope Francis, during which the faithful may obtain special plenary indulgences.

Although the Feast of Thomas Aquinas was moved to 28 January in the new calendar by Pope Paul VI to ensure acelebration unencumbered by Lenten penance, many Dominican institutions and Thomistic scholars (like the undersigned), continue to observe 7 March as a day of special remembrance. And in this Jubilee of Thomas Aquinas, running from 28 January 2023 to 28 January 2025, today is an especially fitting day to remember the Angelic Doctor and perhaps to visit a Dominican priory, shrine, or other holy place connected with the Dominicans in order to obtain a plenary indulgence, that is, the remission of all temporal punishment due to sin, which can be applied for oneself or for the souls in purgatory.

Besides the usual conditions for a plenary indulgence (sacramental confession, reception of Holy Communion, and prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father), the special indulgence for the Aquinas Jubilee requires that one should 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.

Saint Thomas was a man unshakably devoted to the Church. Even though he was in poor health, he died while making an arduous journey from Naples to France, responding to Pope Gregory X’s call for him to attend the Second Council of Lyon. Thomas struck his head on a tree branch near Terracina, not far from Naples, and was eventually sent to convalesce at the Cistercian monastery of Fossanova. When it was clear that he would not recover, he piously received anointing of the sick and the Holy Eucharist from the monks. His last recorded words are a wonderful profession of faith which we might do well to make our own, please God, at the hour of our own death.

I receive Thee, O price of my soul’s redemption.
I receive Thee, O viaticum of my pilgrimage,
for love of whom I have studied, kept watch, and laboured.
Thee have I preached, Thee have I taught.
Nothing against Thee have I said,
but if I have spoken ill, I did so in ignorance.
Neither am I stubborn in my own understanding,
but if I have spoken ill of this Sacrament or the others,
I leave it all to the judgment of the Holy Roman Church,
in whose obedience I now pass from this life.

Sumo te, pretium redemptionis animae meae,
sumo te, viaticum peregrinationis meae,
pro cuius amore studui, vigilavi et laboravi.
Te praedicavi, te docui.
Nihil unquam contra te dixi;
sed si quid male dixi, ignorans dixi.
Nec sum pertinax in sensu meo;
sed si quid male dixi de hoc sacramento et aliis,
totum relinquo correctioni Sancte Romanae Ecclesiae,
in cuius obedientia nunc transeo ex hac vita.

Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for us!

Relief Altarpiece in the Chapel of Thomas's Passing, Fossanova Abbey