First, happy Feast of All Saints! I hope that you will eat a good steak today in honor of all the faithful men, women, and children throughout history who persevered to the end in God’s grace and are now with Him for ever in heaven.
Even though we don’t know all their names, even though they don’t have individual feast days on the calendar, even though we might be surprised about some of the people who are saints (and some who are not), yet all of the saints intercede for us in heaven and accompany us through our earthly trial. We give thanks to God, who is “wonderful in His saints”, and ask Him to make us saints as well.
Tomorrow is the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed – All Souls’ Day – and November is also traditionally recalled as the Month of All Souls. There are various indulgences available during this month. Here I will write about one that you can get specifically tomorrow, November 2nd.
Then, note the following specific requirements for the plenary indulgence for All Souls Day:
A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the souls in Purgatory, is granted when the faithful piously visit a church or a public oratory on November 2. In visiting the church or oratory, it is required that one Our Father and the Creed be recited.
So, in sum, to gain the plenary indulgence on behalf of the souls in Purgatory tomorrow, you must:
- Go, with pious dispositions, to a Catholic church or oratory on November 2nd (an “oratory” could be a Catholic high school chapel, Catholic hospital chapel, or Catholic cemetery chapel, for example).
- Have the intention of obtaining the plenary indulgence.
- Recite the Our Father and the Creed one time each.
- Pray for the intentions of the Holy Father (traditionally, one offers an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and a Glory Be “for the Holy Father’s intentions” to fulfill this part).
- Receive Holy Communion in the state of grace. If you are not in the state of grace, do not receive Holy Communion until you have made a good Confession. Both the requirement of Holy Communion and Confession can be completed within about 20 days before or after the day that you wish to receive the indulgence.
- Go to Confession (within 20 days before or after – if you’ve been recently, even if you didn’t know about the indulgence, and do not need to go again at the moment, then you’re all set).
- Be free from all attachment to sin, even venial sin (Fr. Finigan has a good explanation of what this means).
Fulfilling these simple and easy works is a great act of charity for the souls who are in Purgatory, still undergoing their final purification. If you complete the requirements with the right dispositions, then one of those souls will be freed from Purgatory, enter into Heaven, and I think it’s safe to say, pray for you there before the throne of God.
Let us remember to pray for all the faithful departed often, and particularly during this month of November.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.