Are you gaining indulgences? If not, why not? So easy… such a work of charity!

Lest we forget, in this brief period after All Saint’s and All Souls Holy Church has designated various ways to obtain plenary indulgences under the usual conditions.  The Enchiridion Indulgentiarum 29 says

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

1° each day, from the first of November to the octave, will have devoutly visited a cemetery and, even only in the mind, will have prayed for the dead;


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

1° will have devoutly visited a cemetery and, even only in the mind, will have prayed for the dead;

2° will have devoutly recited Laudes or Vespers of the Office of the Dead, or (will have devoutly recited) the invocation “Requiem aeternam”.

Here is the aforementioned prayer that gains the indulgence:

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Requiescant in pace. Amen.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Just Too Cool, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, Year of Faith and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. revueltos67 says:

    Is it possible to gain more than one such indulgence in a day? A plenary and a partial indulgence?

  2. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    The person for whom we pray need not be in the cemetery we visit?

  3. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Might I mention my: A Modern Guide to Indulgences, Foreword by Abp. Timothy M. Dolan, (Hillenbrand Books, Liturgy Training Publications, 2008) 115 pp, ISBN: 978-1-59525-024-7.

  4. pseudomodo says:

    Our diocese in Canada actually mentions that there are plenary indulgences but regrettably defers to the USCCB website for details. Of course the USCCB website leaves out 20% of the information but to it’s credit does have a link to the VIS website which DOES carry the bulk of the decree. Your best bet is to read the decree on the Vatican Website so you can get the whole thing.

    Hopefully our bishops office will issue some clarifications soon, otherwise the Year of Faith will end up being the 9 MONTHS of Faith.

  5. acardnal says:

    Chris Garton-Zavesky says:
    5 November 2012 at 9:14 am
    The person for whom we pray need not be in the cemetery we visit?


  6. dep says:

    I am given to understand (meaning that I read it someplace last week and acted upon it) that praying in a church on All Souls Day would grant one a plenary indulgence; I did not know a form for assigning it to some soul in purgatory who otherwise has no one to pray for him, so I just sort of said at the beginning that this was my intention, then prayed a prayer for the dead and the chaplet for the dead. Will I have done any good for anyone other than myself?

  7. Phil_NL says:


    There’s no way to really know this side of heaven, but God hears our prayers and knows our minds. He is omnipotent, He can sort out the ‘missing name’ if He wants. And on that latter part, I think faith wouldn’t be misplaced. It might sound a tad frivolous, but I’d say the following applies here: “God created accountants, but that doesn’t mean He is one.”

    Anyhow, maybe some-one here has a prayer formula for that situation, the issue must have come up before in the last 2 millenia.

  8. Robert_H says:

    For reference, here are some general remarks on “the usual conditions” from the Apostolic Penitentiary’s website’s Gift of the Indulgence (Jan. 29, 2000).

    General Remarks On Indulgences

    1. This is how an indulgence is defined in the Code of Canon Law (can. 992) and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 1471): “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”.

    2. In general, the gaining of indulgences requires certain prescribed conditions (below, nn. 3, 4), and the performance of certain prescribed works (nn. 8, 9, 10 indicate those specific to the Holy Year).

    3. To gain indulgences, whether plenary or partial, it is necessary that the faithful be in the state of grace at least at the time the indulgenced work is completed.

    4. A plenary indulgence can be gained only once a day. In order to obtain it, the faithful must, in addition to being in the state of grace:

    — have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin;
    — have sacramentally confessed their sins;
    — receive the Holy Eucharist (it is certainly better to receive it while participating in Holy Mass, but for the indulgence only Holy Communion is required);
    — pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.

    5. It is appropriate, but not necessary, that the sacramental Confession and especially Holy Communion and the prayer for the Pope’s intentions take place on the same day that the indulgenced work is performed; but it is sufficient that these sacred rites and prayers be carried out within several days (about 20) before or after the indulgenced act. Prayer for the Pope’s intentions is left to the choice of the faithful, but an “Our Father” and a “Hail Mary” are suggested. One sacramental Confession suffices for several plenary indulgences, but a separate Holy Communion and a separate prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions are required for each plenary indulgence.

    6. For the sake of those legitimately impeded, confessors can commute both the work prescribed and the conditions required (except, obviously, detachment from even venial sin).

    7. Indulgences can always be applied either to oneself or to the souls of the deceased, but they cannot be applied to other persons living on earth.

  9. chantgirl says:

    dep- I will occasionally pray for the “soul in purgatory who most needs it, or the soul who has no one to pray for them”. As for my relatives who have died, who knows if they are still in purgatory, so I pray for relatives even if they died fifty years ago.I seem to remember reading that one of the saints said that if we pray for a soul who is no longer in purgatory, God applies the prayer to another soul. God is beyond generous, and I’m sure that no prayer goes to waste.

    I do have a question, though. I often will offer my communions for the souls in purgatory. Is this permitted?

  10. Speravi says:

    Am I right in understanding “each day” here to mean that from Nov 1-Nov 8, each day the faithful can gain an plenary indulgence by visiting a cemetery? Or does it mean that you have to go each day from Nov 1-Nov 8 to get one indulgence?

  11. AnnAsher says:

    Dep- If the conditions for a plenary indulgence are not met the indulgence is partial – so yes you did something good for a soul in purgatory. To meet the conditions no special prayer of intention is needed – wha is needed is the desire to fulfill the indulgence for that intention.
    Chantgirl- yes offering the benefits of your communion (or your Mass) is permitted and considered by many Saints to be a great work of mercy. God does not divide the Grace; Grace is only limited by the disposition of the person to whom it goes by their ability to receive it.

  12. Fern says:

    I find that very few Catholics know that one can gain a Plenary Indulgence “every day” under the usual conditions for things as simple as praying a rosary in Church, spending half an hour reading Scripture and many more. Those that do, don’t want to be bothered with regular Confession. Of course, there is that little item called “detatchment from sin” which is somewhat worrisome but there are always partial indulgences, if we fail in that department. I give mine to our Blessed Mother to distribute where needed. Hope that is OK.

Comments are closed.