During the month of November, the Church invites her children to be especially mindful of praying for those who have preceded us into eternal life and who may be in need of additional purification before they enter into the presence of the Lord. As such, the Church affords her children the opportunity to obtain certain indulgences that are applicable only to the faithful departed. An indulgence is the remission, before God, of the temporal punishment that remains after the guilt of a sin has been forgiven. By offering indulgences, the Church encourages the faithful, through the performance of acts of piety and charity, to seek the remission of this punishment in this life rather than in Purgatory. An indulgence may be either partial (remitting a part of the punishment) or plenary (remitting the whole of the punishment). Each member of the faithful is permitted to gain one plenary indulgence per day.
For an indulgence to be plenary, the following conditions must be met:
1. The indulgenced work must specifically have a plenary indulgence attached to it.
2. The performance of the indulgenced work must be accompanied by:
- Sacramental confession (generally within several days before or after the performance of the indulgenced work).
- Reception of Holy Communion (preferably the day of the indulgenced work, but not necessarily).
- Prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father are to be offered. This is preferably done on the day of the indulgenced work, and may be satisfied with one Our Father and one Hail Mary, though you are free to use whichever prayers you wish.
- An interior disposition of total detachment from sin (even venial sin) within the person performing the indulgenced work.
3. When any of the above conditions are not met, the indulgence will be a partial indulgence.
The following are indulgences that can be applied to the faithful departed that you might want to keep in mind in the coming days:
Grant #29: For the Faithful Departed
1 A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, is granted to the faithful who,
- on any day from November 1 to 8, devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, if only mentally, for the departed;
- on All Souls’ Day (or, according to the judgment of the ordinary, on the Sunday preceding or following it, or on the solemnity of All Saints), devoutly visit a church or an oratory and recite an Our Father and the Creed.
(N.B. The Holy See has decreed that, on account of the pandemic, this year the above works can be completed on any day in November. Also, those who are unable to visit a cemetery or church on account of the pandemic can obtain the plenary indulgence by performing some prayer for the faithful departed, e.g. Rosary, Chaplet of Divine Mercy, etc., preferably before a sacred image of our Lord or the Blessed Virgin Mary, with the intention of fulfilling the requirements for a plenary indulgence when possible.)
2 A partial indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, is granted to the faithful who,
- devoutly visit a cemetery and at least mentally pray for the dead;
- devoutly recite Lauds or Vespers from the Office of the Dead or the prayer Eternal rest (Eternal rest grant unto him/her/them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.