During the month of November the Church greatly blesses the prayers that we offer on behalf of our departed loved ones. In particular during the first several days of the month the Church makes available the grant of a plenary indulgence that can be gained for our loved ones in two ways:
1. Visiting a Church or an Oratory (such as the Shrine) on All Souls Day
A plenary (“full”) indulgence, which is applicable only to the souls in Purgatory is granted to the Christian faithful who devoutly visit a church or an oratory on (November 2nd,) All Souls Day. To gain this indulgence simply visit a church and pray for the souls in Purgatory. Also say one “Our Father” and the “Apostles Creed” during the visit. Then be sure to meet the general requirements for gaining a plenary indulgence that are listed below.
2. Visiting a cemetery each day between 1 November and 8 November
This is done simply by visiting a cemetery and praying for the departed. There is no requirement to say any specific prayer during the cemetery visit so long as one prays for the souls in Purgatory. This indulgence can be gained once per day on each of the first 8 days of November. Be sure to meet the general requirements for gaining a plenary indulgence that are listed below.
You can acquire one plenary indulgence a day.
These indulgences are applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory.
General Requirements for obtaining a Plenary Indulgence:
- Say one “Our Father” and one “Hail Mary” for the Holy Father’s intentions (that is, the intentions designated by the Holy Father each month)
- Worthily receive Holy Communion (ideally on the same day if you can get to Mass)
- Make a sacramental confession within 20 days of All Souls Day
- For a plenary indulgence be free from all attachment to sin, even venial sin (otherwise, the indulgence is partial, not plenary, “full”).