2 November indulgences coming up. Have a plan?

During November Holy Church promotes prayers for the souls in purgatory. The souls in Purgatory are members of the Church just like we are but of the Church “Suffering”. We are members of the Church “Militant”, and we are like soldiers on the march through the world on the way with our Great Captain towards our heavenly home to join the members of the Church “Triumphant”. We can help the souls in Purgatory through our good works as assigned by the Church, who has the authority from Christ to apply to them the merits of His Passion and death, and the merits of the saints.

Here is how you can obtaining a Plenary Indulgence on 2 November 2, All Souls:

  • make a good confession within a week before or after All Souls
  • be free from all attachment to sin, even venial sin, for a plenary indulgence
  • visit a church to pray for the faithful departed
  • say one “Our Father” and the “Creed” during a visit to the church
  • say one “Our Father” and one “Hail Mary” for the Pope’s monthly intentions
  • receive Holy Communion, on the same day or soon after

To obtain a Plenary Indulgence from 1-8 November

  • make a good Confession within a week of before or after All Souls Day
  • be free from all attachment to sin, even venial sin, for a plenary indulgence
  • visit a cemetery and pray for the dead
  • say one “Our Father” and one “Hail Mary” for the monthly intentions set by the Pope
  • receive Holy Communion worthily on the same day or soon after

Several indulgences may be gained on the basis of a single confession but only one may be gained after a single good reception Communion and prayer for the Pope’s intentions.

If you are not correctly disposed or if you don’t fulfill the prescribed works and/or the three conditions the indulgence will be partial and not plenary.

Anyway, have a plan for gaining your indulgences for the poor souls.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. JonPatrick says:

    As part of the rosary I have always prayed for the Holy Father’s intentions i a general way, but did not realize there were specific published intentions until this post caused me to do a Google search and found them on the EWTN site.

    Is it necessary to be aware of the specific intentions for the month and pray for them by name, or is it sufficient to pray for them in general?

  2. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Thank you for the reminder. I must figure out the logistics of getting to confession at some point before Tuesday and for getting to weekday Masses between 11/2 and 11/8. (Holy priests and bishops who read the comments, it would be magnificent if confession were available at more regularly scheduled times convenient for working folk. Thank you.)

    Quaeritur: Must the cemetery be a Catholic cemetery, or is a “general” cemetery (or even a US military cemetery, such as where my own parents are buried) still proper for these indulgences?

  3. Tom Esteban says:

    Awesome, I went to confession today and didn’t even know about this. Checked my calendar and 2Nov is exactly 7 days away :-D

  4. flyfree432 says:

    “be free from all attachment to sin, even venial sin, for a plenary indulgence”

    This is the one that has always thrown me off as a convert. How does one know that they are truly free from all attachment to sin. It would seem that is the achievement of the great mystics and saints of the Church of which we strive towards but most people do not achieve.

  5. MissOH says:

    Thank you so much for the reminder. Oh the things they never taught me as a child in my Baptist Sunday School :)
    Seriously, I am sharing this as a reminder. Fortunately, one of the churches that will offer a TLM for All Saints and then All Souls Day will offer confessions a half an hour prior to the mass.

  6. MJ says:

    Good reminder, Fr Z! Especially about the indulgences that can be gained from Nov 1st – 8th.

  7. David Homoney says:


    flyfree432 – I had trouble with that same question and found a good answer at the link below. Benedicite Deum!


  8. Re: attachment to sin — First off, the whole indulgence thing comes from our decent try being supported by the merits and prayers of the whole Church, including the Church Triumphant and Jesus Christ. So it’s not all on us. Second, if you don’t manage a plenary, you get a partial or yourself, and that’s not pigs’ feet.

    This is supposed to be a happy gift, not something you angst about. Make a good Confession, receive Communion, pray for yourself and for your brothers and sisters’ needs and intentions, come home with a guaranteed increase in the fullness of joy for yourself and/or your brothers and sisters. Seriously, that’s all there is to it. Don’t count points and don’t worry yourself; just be happy.

  9. “….you get a partial (for the Poor Souls or whoever you like or yourself, depending on the indulgence you’re working on through the year) — and that’s not pig’s feet.”

  10. Re: attachment to sin, This isn’t talking about all day or forever. It’s a decent try during a short time, which isn’t too hard if you’re in a state of grace and you concentrate hard on your prayers.

    I mean, nobody’s usually attached to sin while they’re busy, say, drowning, or hopping up and down on one foot, or peeling an apple while trying not to break the peel. There are probably hundreds of times a day when we’re not attached to sin, even if we’re really evil nasty types. As fallen as things are, us being in the world and in the body has its advantages over being an evil spirit, who can indeed put all its attention to evil.

  11. MarkJ says:

    I’d like to suggest, in the spirit of St. Louis de Montfort’s “True Devotion to Mary”, that we offer the indulgences we gain to Our Lady, for her to distribute as she wishes (i.e., as God wishes through her) to those poor souls most in need. She is closest to God and knows His will and will purify what we offer and make it more fruitful than we could ever do ourselves. A great way add another dimension of surrender and self-sacrifice to our indulgenced prayers and works.

  12. Nan says:

    On All Souls day I’m going to 7pm Mass at the Cathedral and Shrine of St. Paul, followed by a Q&A session on the new translation. I’ll also visit at least three cemeteries and pray for the dead.

    I don’t quite understand not being attached to sin but don’t worry so much about that; I can always get a partial indulgence. It all helps the poor souls in purgatory.

  13. irishgirl says:

    Well, I hope to go to confession this Sunday (Feast of Christ The King on the ‘Traditional Calendar’), and will attend Mass on both All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days (the latter’s three consecutive Masses are hard on my aging knees, but I’ll try and put up with the pain for the Souls in Purgatory).
    And during the first days of November I’ll stop by one or other of the local Catholic cemeteries where relatives and friends are buried to pray for their souls, too.

  14. Mariana says:

    David Homoney,

    Thank you! I thought attachment meant ‘fondness for,’ and am very grateful for the correction!

  15. MouseTemplar says:

    This is an easy “multi-task”:

    1. Dress my 5 yr old in his St. Thomas Beckett costume .
    2. Go to confession before Mass
    3. Watch the “saints” process in behind Father and take their seats for Mass. [Confiscate the ‘Bishop’s’ Crozier for the duration of the Mass]
    4. Receive Communion
    5. Attend the parish All Saints Party afterwards with St Thomas Beckett wannabe.
    6. Stop at the cemetery after to pray for all the religious buried there.

    I am a bit worried that there is something improper about these tiny saints processing with the celebrant; we do have a prohibition against any non-saint costumes, but I still have this nagging concern. Would anyone care to comment?

    Seamstress to the Bishop and Fishstick Chef

  16. James Joseph says:

    First, I have to find a cemetary; that is a Christian burial ground, and not a necropolis; that is, a non-Christian burying ground.

    I wonder where they keep them in Utah.

  17. James Joseph says:

    Oh wait!
    Don’t most altars have bone and hair and fingernail relics in them.

    Doesn’t the altar count as a cemetary… of sorts.

  18. There are various forms of pageantry where the participants have always gone to Mass ahead of time, already in costume, or ended up the procession by going to Mass. For example, obviously the folks who carry saints’ day procession “floats” for statues. (In some areas, the floats start out the day in church, even. Every neighborhood’s Palio jockey and the fans always go to Mass first, since the Palio horse races in Italy are run in honor of the Virgin Mary and between parishes.

    I’m not a super fan of going to Mass in costume; but if that’s the clothes you’re wearing (at school, at a medieval event or Civil War reenactment, during a theater run, etc.), it’s appropriate enough.

    Anyway, you just had St. Paul urging people to be “imitators of me and of Christ”, so it’s obviously Biblical to dress up like a saint. :)

  19. bvb says:

    Ditto on the Catholic cemetery question. Also, would a family mausoleum count? I’m thinking of the Stanford mausoleum, where Lelands Jr., Sr., and Mrs. are buried; we students pray the Rosary over there for All Souls’ Day each year.

  20. Brad says:

    James Joseph, this is my probably convoluted thought on the matter, but wouldn’t the relics in an altar be those of a saint, i.e. a soul with no chance of being in purgatory, i.e. not the target demographic of our prayers on All Souls? I would think we need to visit a cemetery in order to pray for the demographic represented by a cemetery: souls who may well be in purgatory, souls whom we want to help at just that moment.

  21. MouseTemplar says:
    “This is an easy “multi-task”:”

    I’m not sure about the presence of several dozen mini saints at mass but I certainly wish you the best of luck with it.

    Our parish is also doing an ‘All Saints’ party after mass and I am pleased to say that I will be up in the choir loft well out of the way of the proceedings during mass before making a swift exit as soon after the dismissal as is seemly…

    I suspect that there is a 50/50 chance that by the end of the evening Joan of Arc will have had a row with Gregory the Great and that at least three of the 40 Martyrs will have eaten enough to make themsevles very close to their namesakes.


  22. Bosco says:

    How in the name of Peter Paul and Mary can anyone be detached from venial sin? I smoke, I like to have a drink, I overeat etc. Plenary indulgences always seem out of reach for me.

  23. inIpso says:

    My parish’s young adult group is going to a cemetery for next week’s meeting so we can do this! :)

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