In Madison, WI Bp. Morlino will offer a Pontifical Requiem Mass at the Throne at 7 PM at the Bishop O’Connor Center. The music will be De Victoria’s Requiem for 4 Voices.  I’ll bet there aren’t any other Requiems at the Throne being done.

I received a note that at wonderful St. John Cantius (what would Chicagoans and so many others do without them?) the Mozart Requiem will be used for a Pontifical Requiem at the faldstool with the great Bp. Perry.

  • Event: Mozart Requiem Mass for All Souls Day
  • DateMon., Nov. 2
  • Time: 730 pm Latin High Mass with Bishop Joseph Perry
  • Location: St. John Cantius Church, 825 N Carpenter, Chicago IL 60642
  • Directions/Public Transportationclick here
  • Help Sponsor the Music: Click here for our sponsorship form.
  • Parking: Free parking behind church and by the school
  • Website: HERE

At Holy Innocents in Manhattan… On Monday, November 2nd, 2015 is the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls’ Day). Holy Innocents will have a Solemn Requiem Mass followed by the Rite of Absolution at 6:00 PM.

I see that the website of Ss. Trinità in Rome hasn’t been updated since Last ventsaster.  (Bravo, guys.)   Still, I know they will be doing something grand.  Here is a shot of their catafalque from a couple years ago.

Now… Indulgences and YOU!

From the Handbook of Indulgences

Visiting a Church or an Oratory 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.

Will you not, for love, try to gain these indulgences?  Make a plan.

Requirements for Obtaining a Plenary Indulgence on All Souls Day (2 Nov)

  • Visit a church and pray for souls in Purgatory
  • Say one “Our Father” and the “Apostles Creed” in the visit to the church
  • 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”).

You can acquire one plenary indulgence a day.

A partial indulgence can be obtained by visiting a cemetery and praying for the departed.  You can gain a plenary indulgence visiting a cemetery each day between 1 November and 8 November. These indulgences are applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory.

A plenary indulgence, applicable only the Souls in Purgatory, is also granted when you visit a church or a public oratory on 2 November. While visiting the church or oratory say one Our Father and the Apostles Creed.

A partial indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, can be obtained when saying the “Eternal rest … Requiem aeternam…” prayer.

Do you know this prayer?

Requiem aeternam dona ei [pl.eis], Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei [eis]. Requiescat [-ant] in pace Amen.Eternal rest grant to 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.

It is customary to add the second half of the “Eternal Rest” prayer after the prayer recited at the conclusion of a meal.

Gratias agimus tibi, omnipotens Deus, pro universis beneficiis tuis, qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum.

Fidelium animae, per misericordiam Dei, requiescant in pace. Amen.

We give Thee thanks, almighty God, for all Thy benefits, Who livest and reignest, world without end.

May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

My friend Fr. Finigan has a good explanation of being detached from sin and the disposition you need to gain indulgences.  HERE

Keep in mind that having high standards is a good thing.

Shouldn’t we be free from attachment to sin?  To what degree is being attached to sin okay?

In the final analysis, perhaps we have to admit that gaining plenary indulgences is rarer than we would like.

That said, it is not impossible to gain them.

I don’t think we have to be a hermit living on top of a tree beating his head with a rock to be free of attachment to sin so as to gain this plenary or “full” indulgence.

Also, we do not know the degree to which a “partial” indulgence is “partial”.  It could be a lot.  That in itself is something which should spur us on!

Generally, if someone is motivated to obtain an indulgence, he does so from true piety, desire to please God and to help oneself and others.

When it comes to complete detachment from sin, even venial, few of us live in that state all the time.

Nevertheless, there are times when we have been moved to sorrow for sin after examination of conscience, perhaps after an encounter with God as mystery in liturgical worship or in the presence of human suffering, that we come to a present horror and shame of sin that moves us to reject sin entirely.  That doesn’t mean that we, in some Pelagian sense, have chosen to remain perfect from that point on or that by force of will we can chosen never to sin again.  God is helping us with graces at that point, of course.  But we do remain frail and weak.

But God reads our hearts.

Holy Church offers us many opportunities for indulgences.  The presupposition is that Holy Church knows we can actually attain them.

They can be partial (and we don’t know to what extent that is) and full or plenary.  But they can be obtained by the faithful.

Holy Church is a good mother.  She wouldn’t dangle before our eyes something that is impossible for us to attain.

That doesn’t mean that a full indulgence is an easy thing.  It does mean that we can do it.  In fact, beatifications and canonizations have been more common in the last few decades and in previous centuries.  The Church is showing us that it is possible for ordinary people to live a life of heroic virtue.

Therefore, keep your eyes fixed on the prize of indulgences.   Never think that it is useless to try to get any indulgence, partial or full, just because

Perhaps you are not sure you can attain complete detachment from all sin, even venial.  Before you perform the indulgenced work, ask God explicitly to take away any affection for sin you might be treasuring.  Do this often and, over your lifetime, and you may find it easier and easier. Support your good project with good confessions and good communions.  You need those graces.

A person does not become expert in worldly pursuits overnight or without effort.  Why would not the same apply to spiritual pursuits? It takes time and practice to develop skills and virtues.  It takes time to develop habits of the spirit as well.

We can do this.  And when we fall short, we still have the joy of obtaining the partial indulgence and that’s not nothing.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Events, Four Last Things, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, The Campus Telephone Pole and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Kathleen10 says:

    This is a great thread Fr., thank you for it.
    Having just venerated the relic of St. Maria Goretti, I asked for an indulgence at that time, to be applied to my dad who passed away forty years ago. The reality of the indulgence and what it can do for our loved ones in heaven has given me a great deal of consolation over the years. The idea of assis1ting our deceased loved one and the souls in purgatory is such a happy thought! It also contradicts the notion that we can do nothing for our loved ones in heaven, which is not true.

  2. MattnSue says:

    It will not be “at the throne” but mere feet away, at the glorious Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philly, I can’t wait to attend https://sites.google.com/site/latinmassphila/ Monday Evening at 7:00 p.m., asking for an indulgence for my deceased mother.

  3. Mary Jane says:

    Thank you for this post, Fr Z, especially for the reminder about indulgences.

    Mater Dei (FSSP parish) in Irving, TX is having a Solemn High Mass on All Souls Day at 7pm. The music program will consist primarily of Spanish polyphony – Schola Marianum will sing Morales’ 5-part Missa pro defunctis (Introit, Kyrie, Pie Jesu, Communion) and Victoria’s 6-part Officium Defunctorum (Sanctus, Benedictus, Agnus Dei, Libera Me) as well as various Offertory and Communion motets.

  4. pannw says:

    I love the first week of November! Last year, I tried to go to a cemetery every day, and I think I managed it. I was talking with a friend from my parish after Mass Sunday, and told her we should go together one day and in our discussion she asked if it could be any cemetery or if it had to be a Catholic one. I don’t think it does, does it? If so, my visits didn’t work, because there are two cemeteries in my town and neither is Catholic, nor is the VA Cemetery where my non-Catholic father in law is buried, but I went to pray there, too.

  5. andia says:

    This added so much to my November last year. I had never heard of this before – I went every day to pray for my family members and the priests who I was writing about in my thesis. Father, you do so much good posting these devotions for us! Thank you

  6. Batfink says:

    I include myself in this, as I like a good visit to a graveyard at the beginning of November, recitation of the Te Deum on 31st December etc. as much as the next person (assuming the next person is also really into indulgences) …

    But it seems like we put disproportionately large emphasis on the ‘special dates’ indulgences. It’s pretty easy to gain a plenary indulgence any day (obviously within the limits of attachment to sin, but the same applies for ‘special day’ indulgences) through e.g. Scripture reading for 30 minutes, Eucharistic adoration for 30 minutes, praying the Rosary as a family. Shouldn’t we be promoting them a bit more?

  7. NoraLee9 says:

    Salutem omnibus!

    I too enjoy November, being the month for Holy Souls. There are hundreds of cemeteries in a 50 mile radius of my home, including the spectacular Greenwood, in Brooklyn, Holy Rood in LI & Gate of Heaven in Westchester. I have friends and family in all 3 locations; the history in all of these and the beauty of the statuary is breath-taking.
    I will here quote the prayer addendum from Ralph Sarchie’s Beware the Night, regarding detachment from sin. It is the clearest sentence I have ever read about what “attachment to sin” really means.
    “So Father have mercy on us, grant us the grace of perfect contrition that we may be cleansed from all sin, attachment to sin, plans to sin and fond memories of sin….”
    I guess I never realized that some of the tales with which I regale my buddies of an adventurous, but not always holy life could be keeping ME attached to sin. In regards to others, am I still bearing any grudges? (In my case, I have whole nations I must forgive). If given the opportunity to “get even,” would I take it? Am I praying for the conversion and the eventual redemption of folks who have wronged me or mine? (As a woman it’s much easier for me to forgive someone who has wronged me, but to hurt my kid…. That’s a toughie).
    Thank you again, Pater, for these timely posts. I will be spending next week visiting the cemeteries.

  8. James says:

    Those details about how to gain a plenary indulgence are a God-send – the post is a direct answer to some questions I had, & I had no idea where to look for an answer to them. Father, thanks a lot.

  9. bakerfam5 says:

    Just a question Father,
    For the indulgence it mentions confession within 20 days.

    Can that be before, or is it after?

  10. Imrahil says:

    Dear bakerfam5, as far as I’m aware it can be after, but you must be in the state of grace at the time of the indulgence work.

    And my annual question:

    What if I stand before the paled gate of the cemetry and fold my hands inside it, saying my prayers, while the rest of the body is outside the cemetry because it isn’t within the opening times? Does the cemetry count as visited?

    (That is far from a merely theoretical question – and, for a change, it’s not, I think, only my convenience that makes me ask so.)

  11. Mariana2 says:

    Dear Imrahil,

    I’m sure that counts, even just looking over the wall and praying.

    The only Catholic cemetery in this country is near to where I live, so visited today and prayed there.

  12. anachy says:

    OK, I must be dense. Can someone please explain to me what the following means: “You can gain a plenary indulgence visiting a cemetery each day between 1 November and 8 November.” Does this mean that one must visit on each of those eight days to get a single plenary indulgence? Or, does it mean that one can get a separate indulgence for each day that one visits any time during November 1-8 (thus the possibility of 8 indulgences if visited each of the 8 days)?

  13. Imrahil says:

    It never even came to me that it could mean other than the latter…

    provided you Communicate eight times.

    Dear Mariana,

    thanks :-)

  14. Tantum Ergo says:

    It’s got to be possible for 8.
    From “Regulations on Indulgences”
    Issued by the Holy See June 29, 1968

    Visit to a Cemetery
    (Coemeterii visitatio)
    An indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, is granted to the faithful, who devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, even if only mentally, for the departed. The indulgence is plenary each day from the 1st to the 8th of November; on other days of the year it is partial.

  15. frahobbit says:

    I just read on blog.holyheroes.com/souls-day-praying-dead-nov-1-8/ that the plenary
    indulgence for a visit to a cemetery is for any day and each day between nov. First and eighth. So I take it to mean that I don’t have to go every single one of those days in order to obtain the plenary indulgence for the holy souls. But if I go for eight days and receive communion et al for each day, I could apply eight plenary indulgences to the holy souls.

  16. Grumpy Beggar says:

    The gaining of an indulgence appears to have 2 effects – the indilgenced act benefitting the Mystical Body of Christ, and the personal effect of drawing the one who performs the indulgenced act closer to God. Unlike the thinking of certain present day, (as Fr. Hunwicke so deliciously puts it) “Knockwurst theologians” of late , the indulgence is properly ordered : It admits first to sin , then to God’s justice , and finally, testifies to His Mercy.

    On the individual level,we notice the indulgence whether plenary or partial retains a healthy connection of reference to the unhealthy connection : personal sin ; the state of our own soul. One could further remark on the exchange of love possible in gaining an indulgence applicable to the holy souls in Purgatory: One way to express it would be – an indulgence cares about the well-being of our own soul while we are caring about the well-being of another or other souls.

    It could also be said that gaining an indulgence applicable only to the holy souls in Purgatory rather than one which would be applicable to ourselves, could assure purity of intention to a greater degree. But let’s be sure we understand what purity of intention means:

    From Fr. John Hardon, S.J. ; Modern catholic Dictionary:
    The perfection of one’s motive inspiring human action. An act is more or less pure depending on the degree of selfless love of God with which it is performed.

    Modern Catholic Dictionary

    So the practice of gaining indulgences should also eventually bear, as a fruit, growth in selfless love of God ; love of God Himself, and love of God in our brothers and our sisters. As Fr. Z was saying in his recent post ASK FATHER: What does “attachment to sin” mean?
    “What Holy Church asks, in your obtaining an indulgence, is that you are doing your best to love God and neighbor and to hate sin. That’s it.” And, gaining a partial indulgence is “not nothing !”

    I’m not sure whether I discovered a way to add a little something to that “not nothing” , but , FWIW I’ll share the following – keeping in mind that important part Fr. Z. explained about the dynamic of attachment to and freedom from attachment to sin: ” Attachment or freedom will ebb and flow”, together with what our Blessed Lord said to St. Faustina when he had her visit Purgatory and to see the souls suffering there: “My mercy does not want this, but justice demands it.”

    I’ve been visiting cemeteries and praying for the holy souls in Purgatory for a few years now- visiting the cemetery regardless of whether it was an “ebb” or “flow” occasion ; I went. Granted , it is more difficult to go when we are discouraged by the state of our soul at given moments – questioning whether we might be able to do anything substantial for our brothers and sisters in Purgatory by trying to gain an indulgence for them at that time. . . But don’t overlook the humility which might be present in your soul at that same time. I’ve learned that when we persist in this practice of visiting acemetery to pray for the holy souls, we can actually develop a rapport with our Blessed Lord while performing the indulgenced act. Now, rain or shine , ebb or flow I will often add at the conclusion of my visit and prayers : ” Lord (or Jesus, or sweet Jesus) , please look at my intention and don’t let the present state of my soul, or my shortcomings be too much of an obstacle to you granting the holy souls in Purgatory what your Mercy desires , according to this visit today.” Then I leave it in His hands.

    And anyone could also have a Mass offered for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Is there a more appropriate month than November to do this ? When we have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered for the holy souls in Purgatory , the Merits of the Cross are applied in their favor.

  17. Joy says:

    As a person who cannot get out to a church or a cemetery, I’m wondering if there are any
    partial or plenary indulgences for me.

  18. Grumpy Beggar says:

    @ Joy :

    There are a whole lot of indulgenced prayerse can pray for gaining partial indulgences.

    For the gaining of a plenary indulgence : if you were able to pray (5 decades of) the Rosary with a family member(s) , and if not one can always gain a plenary indulgence by reading Sacred Scripture for at least one half hour- either of those , plus fulfilling the conditions necessary for gaining the plenary indulgence.

    If you don’t mind having to initially close one little pop-up window you could have a look at a lot of them by clicking HERE . . . the Rosary and the reading of Sacred Scripture are listed as numbers 48, and 50.

    Or, a more formal version of the 1986 Handbook of Indulgences – Third Edition can be viewed by clicking HERE (these guys actually make the Plenary Indulgences easier to find by highlighting them in yellow)

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  22. LeeF says:


    I would hope and assume that you have a routine for Sundays and holy days, which includes watching Mass on television or the internet (EWTN/local/whatever), and having someone from your parish come by with communion. And as well for a priest to occasionally come by to hear your confession. Why not do the same with the intention of obtaining indulgences on Nov. 2 or other days?

    As for visiting a cemetery, why not make a spiritual visit, the equivalent of a spiritual communion, by placing yourself in prayer in a cemetery know to you. If you are not familiar with it, there is a website called Findagrave.com, used by genealogists for recording tombstone data and pictures. You might even find memorials there for your loved ones that were created by volunteers. Also, you could find a cemetery on google and then use satellite view to zoom in on a cemetery. I have no doubt that God will credit you with a visit for indulgence purposes, because the intent of these indulgences is mercy, and as Father said, God wants us to be able to obtain them.

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