Enchiridion of Indulgences
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All Saints Day All Souls Day

November is the month of the Holy Souls in Purgatory

It is during the month of November that the Church meditates on the Communion of Saints, which is the link with the faithful who have already reached heaven (the Church Triumphant), the faithful departed who are still expiating their sins in Purgatory (the Church Suffering) and of the pilgrim faithful still here on earth (the Church Militant).


All Saints Day: On the first of November, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of All Saints, a Holy Day of Obligation, honoring all those faithful in heaven, the known and unknown saints. The feast began the traditional Octave of All Saints, November 1-8.


All Souls Day: November 2nd is the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, also known as All Souls Day, a day set aside to pray for all the dead. The need and duty of prayer for the dead has been acknowledged by the Church. We can particularly help the Poor Souls by doing acts and prayers that have indulgences attached to them. An indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment due to sin, the guilt of which has been forgiven. An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due sin.


To gain a Plenary Indulgence (only one per day), the faithful must be in the state of grace and the following conditions must accompany the prescribed act:

  1. Have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin.

  2. Receive the sacrament of confession.

  3. Receive the Holy Eucharist (it is certainly better to receive it while participating in Holy Mass, but for the indulgence only Holy Communion is required).

  4. Recite prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father (one Our Father and one Hail Mary is suggested as a minimum, but any other additional prayers may be added).

All attachment to sin, even venial sin, must be absent. If one's disposition is less than perfect or if some of the above conditions are not fulfilled, the indulgence becomes partial.


Indulgenced Acts for the Faithful Departed

There are many indulgences, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, that can be obtained during the month of November.


A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, is granted to the faithful who, on any and each day from November 1 to 8, devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, if only mentally, for the departed; or on All Souls' Day devoutly visit a church or an oratory and recite an Our Father and the Creed.


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; or devoutly recite lauds or vespers from the Office of the Dead or the prayer Requiem aeternam (Eternal rest).


Incorporating Indulgences Acts Through November and the Year

A partial indulgence can be obtained by devoutly visiting a cemetery and praying for the departed, even if the prayer is only mental.


The "Eternal Rest" prayer gains a partial indulgence and can be prayed all year. Passing a cemetery and praying the "Eternal Rest" can help out the souls in need.


Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.


Resources from: Catholic Culture