October 23, 2020, Vatican City — Due to the COVID-19 pandemic this year, pastors and bishops made requests to the Papal office to extend the Plenary Indulgence for the Deceased Faithful. On October 23rd, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza signed in the decree that the Indulgence would be extended through the month of November as well as exemptions made for those who find themselves unable to fulfill the usual requirements due to the laws of their region, risks to their health or others health.
Who do these indulgences benefit? The souls of the faithful departed in purgatory who are working out temporal sins.
There are two indulgence opportunities available:
- Visit a cemetery and pray for the dead any day from Nov 1- Nov 8. This year it is extended for any day throughout the month of November.
- November 2nd for the faithful to visit a Church or Oratory and recite the “Our Father” and “Creed” is also extended to the entire month of November.
Three Requirements for each indulgence:
- Sacrament of Confession
- Eucharistic Communion
- Pray for the Pope’s Intentions
Anyone who for serious reasons cannot leave their home, such as being at high risk or COVID-19 restrictions and laws in the place they live, have special instructions in which they can still receive the indulgences with the intention of fulfilling the three requirements as soon as they are physically able. They can participate by joining spiritually with the faithful as long as they do not have sin on their conscience, before an image of Jesus or the Virgin Mary, and “recite pious prayers for the deceased. For example, Lauds and Vespers of the Office of the Dead, the Marian Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, other prayers for the deceased dearest to the faithful, or occupy themselves in considered reading of one of the Gospel passages proposed by the liturgy of the deceased, or perform a work of mercy by offering to God the sorrows and hardships of their own lives.”
To read more of the specifics, and how to go about confession during the COVID-19 pandemic when circumstances may be difficult, you can read the official Vatican documents by clicking the links below:
Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary on Plenary Indulgences for the deceased faithful in the current pandemic, 23.10.2020
Note from the Apostolic Penitentiary on the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the current pandemic, 20.03.2020
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