During the whole month of November, the Catholic Church prays particularly for those who have died. Not only does this particular focus help remind the faithful to spend time in prayer for those who have gone before, but it also serves as a reminder of our own mortality. But in the first week of November, you can pray for the poor souls in Purgatory in a special way by visiting a cemetery and praying for their souls.
The Catholic Church offers a partial indulgence for visiting a cemetery throughout the year, but from November 1 through November 8, the indulgence is offered as a plenary indulgence for a poor soul suffering in purgatory. You can help release a soul from Purgatory into Heaven every day through the first week of November! Here’s some information about what an indulgence is, and how you can help the poor souls in Purgatory this year.
What is an indulgence?
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church, which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints.”
An partial indulgence removes part of the temporal punishment due to sin, while a plenary indulgence removes all of the temporal punishment.
What is required for the indulgence?
Throughout the first week of November, you can receive the indulgence offered every day of the week. In order to obtain the plenary indulgence on November 1 through November 8, there a couple of requirements.
You must receive the Eucharist on the day you wish to receive the indulgence. During the week of November 1 through November 8, you must go to confession (you only have to go once that week, even if you gain the indulgence every day of the week). Those who gain the indulgence do not gain it for their own souls, but rather, only for a soul in purgatory.
The indulgence is received when you visit a local cemetery and pray for the souls in Purgatory. A good prayer to pray is the prayer for eternal rest:
Eternal rest grant unto 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.
Another great prayer is Saint Gertrude the Great’s prayer that Christ gave her in a vision:
Eternal Father, I offer You the most Precious Blood of Your Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for all sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.
Like all plenary indulgences, the intentions of the Holy Father must be prayed for along with one Our Father and one Hail Mary each day the indulgence is gained.
A visit to a local cemetery only takes a short minute or two, but it releases a soul from Purgatory and provides them incredible relief. And as a bonus, once their souls are in Heaven, they can return the favor and pray for you, too!