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How to gain a plenary indulgence for the souls in purgatory

Detail from 'Virgin of Carmel Saving Souls in Purgatory' by Circle of Diego Quispe Tito

Catholics can gain special indulgences for the faithful departed during the first eight days of November.

The latest edition of the Enchiridion of Indulgences tells us how:

Grant 29:

1. A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, is granted to the faithful who,

1. on any and each day from November 1 to 8, devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, if only mentally, for the departed;

2. on All Souls’ Day (or, according to the judgment of the ordinary, on the Sunday preceding or following it, or on the solemnity of All Saints), devoutly visit a church or an oratory and recite an Our Father and the Creed.

Catholics can also gain a partial indulgence throughout the rest of the year:

2. A partial indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, is granted to the faithful who

1. devoutly visit a cemetery and at least mentally pray for the dead;

2. devoutly recite lauds or vespers from the Office of the Dead or the prayer Eternal rest

The “Eternal rest” prayer, or “Requiem aeternam” is:

“Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace.”

The conditions for gaining the indulgence are:

  • Do the work while in the state of grace
  • Make a sacramental confession within 20 days
  • Receive Communion
  • Pray for the Pope’s intentions
  • Have no attachment to sin, even venial sin (this can involve resolving to love God and reject sin).