Indulgences for the Poor Souls in November

Throughout November the Church remembers the faithful departed. The need and duty to pray for the dead has always been acknowledged by the Church. It is recommended in the Scriptures of the Old Testament: “It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins” (2 Macch. 12, 46). 


On November 2, All Souls’ Day, the Church Militant observes a day of prayer for the Church Suffering, asking the Lord to grant them forgiveness of their sins in the healing purification of Purgatory and eternal rest in Heaven. A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the Poor Souls, is granted* to those who visit any parish or public oratory on All Souls’ Day and there recite one Our Father and one Credo. 

In addition, on the days from November 1st through the 8th, a plenary indulgence can be obtained for the Poor Souls by visiting a cemetery and there praying for the deceased.

*A plenary indulgence is the full remission of the temporal punishment due to sin. For faithful Catholics to gain a plenary indulgence, they must perform the work to which a plenary indulgence is attached and fulfill the usual conditions which are: 1) be in the state of grace, 2) have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin, 3) have sacramentally confessed their sins, 4) have received most Holy Communion, 5) pray for the intentions of the Holy Father.

It is appropriate, but not necessary, that Confession, Holy Communion, and prayer for the Pope's intentions take place on the same day that the indulgenced work is performed; but it is sufficient that these be carried out within 20 days before or after the indulgenced act. Prayer for the Pope's intentions is left to the choice of the faithful, but an "Our Father" and a "Hail Mary" are suggested. One sacramental Confession suffices for several plenary indulgences, but a separate Holy Communion and a separate prayer for the Holy Father's intentions are required for each plenary indulgence.


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