Anyone who visits a cemetery on any day from November 1 – November 8 and prays for the departed can gain a plenary indulgence for the souls in purgatory. On November 2, the indulgence can also be gained by visiting a church and praying an Our Father and the Creed. Praying at a cemetery on other days of the year is a partial indulgence. A prayer service for visiting a cemetery is printed in the back of the bulletin.
Normally this indulgence can be gained once a day from Nov 1-8, but the Holy Father has extended this all indulgence to all of November. So, this year, you can gain this indulgence for the souls in purgatory once a day every day in November.
What is an indulgence?
Sin hurts the people around us, hurts ourselves, hurts the Church, and ultimately separates us from life in Christ. Jesus Christ became man and died for our sins to restore us to the love of God, and we can receive forgiveness of our sins and be reconciled to God and the Church in the Sacrament of Confession. However, justice requires that we atone for those sins or in some way make up for them. If we don't do it here on earth, then we will have to do it in purgatory. Some of the punishment for our sins is done in penance, but not all of it. An indulgence is an action, usually a prayer or sacrifice, that makes up for the punishment for our sins, so we don't have to spend time in purgatory. In addition, the Holy Church adds to our actions the merits gained by Our Lord, our Blessed Mother, and the saints.
Plenary and Partial Indulgences:
A plenary indulgence is a complete indulgence; it makes up for all of the punishment that is due to us because of our sins. A partial indulgence only makes up for part of it. You can only gain one plenary indulgence per day, or multiple partial indulgences.
Prayer for the souls in purgatory:
An indulgence, just like any prayer, can also be offered for someone else. For example, the All Souls Day indulgence can only be offered for the souls in purgatory, not for oneself, and in that way it is an act of selfless love. We can offer them for the souls in purgatory because we are all united in baptism; we are one body in Christ.
What do I have to do?
At the time that you do the indulgenced work, you must:
1.Intend to gain the Indulgence,
2.Pray an Our Father and a Hail Mary for the intentions of the Pope,
3.Be detached from all sin, even venial sins, for example by asking God to give you a hatred for all sin, and a firm desire to flee from it.
Within 20 days before or after the visit, you must also:
1.Receive Holy Communion
2.Go to Confession
Fr. Bryan became pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes on July 3, 2017. Read his bio here.