2 November – All Souls, Octave, Indulgences, and YOU! – **IMPORTANT UPDATE about availability of the indulgences**

UPDATE 3 Nov ’22:

A priest wrote to tell me that I was wrong about the period for the plenary indulgence during the “octave”.  He said he was sure that the period was extended for the entire month of November.  This WAS the case and it is NO LONGER the case.   The concession had been extended for all of November in a Decree of the Sacra Paenitentiaria Apostolica in 2020 and 2021 for because of COVID-19 (Prot. No. 1253/21/1).  The extension of the indulgence was granted for November 2020 and 2021. Only.

NOW IT IS OVER.  There has returned in force the concession #29 in the Enchiridion Indulgentiarum (The Handbook of Indulgences).   Now, again, the dates for the concession 1-8 November.

Fathers: Don’t be telling people that they have all of November.  It’s 1-8 November.

Finally, since I am in Rome this morning I called the offices of the Sacra Penitenzieria and asked them specifically.

Originally Published on: Nov 2, 2022

Let’s have a review of the indulgences available for All Souls and the days that follow, so that you can plan your own action.  Don’t let these days slip by.

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.

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.

Each day between 1 November and 8 November you can gain plenary indulgence visiting a cemetery. 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.

So… take that, Luther!


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    “Do you know this prayer?”

    It’s in my book, The Catechism Explained, by Rev. Spirago. But the wording is not exactly the same. Curiously, in the grace after meals prayer, his wording does match yours.

  2. APX says:

    Does one have to have then intention to gain the indulgence? I noticed our priest switched to the apostles creed for mass.

  3. Antonia D says:

    I appreciate the encouragement to strive for indulgences, and the great idea to “ask God explicitly to take away any affection for sin” before performing an indulgenced work.

    In fact, I’m going to incorporate that request into my daily prayers. I have a good feeling about this. Thanks again, and may God bless you, Fr. Z, your readers, and all your loved ones, living and dead.

  4. maternalView says:

    Thanks for this. It’s very encouraging.

    The Church has so many things to help us I don’t understand why anyone would choose to go it alone. Must be that attachment to sin thing. But I appreciate the suggestion to ask for help! Of course! I do that for confession, too!

  5. Fr. Kelly says:

    “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)”

    With all due respect to our esteemed host, I have to disagree.
    N26 in the enchiridion of indulences names this requirement but does not specify it as the Pope’s monthly intention. (Something I am grateful for,since I quite often am unable to pray for that intention these days.)
    I choose to take as the Holy Father’s intention as Holy Father — which must be for the spiritual and temporal good of the Church.

    [I have posted about the intentions in the past, HERE. Long before there were monthly intentions (started under Paul VI, there were broader intentions. They were good ones, too.]

  6. AutoLos says:

    Thank you for this clarification, Father. I am a theology teacher and I managed to get about 10 high school students to show up voluntarily after school to pray in our school oratory for the Nov. 2 indulgence. I found a traditional prayer for the Pope and we added the Hail Mary for his intentions. I did not think the Our Father was a requirement – am I right or were those potential indulgences earned yesterday fake?

  7. Kathy T says:

    Thanks for another good post. One thing I do daily is recite “Eternal rest…”. I presume it helps the souls in purgatory all year long, not just in November. Hope so.

  8. Irish Timothy says:

    Thank you for the update and clarifying that Father Z! I’ve sat in my car and said the rosary the last 2 days in the evening outside a cemetery in town for the poor souls in purgatory. Will continue for the rest of the week. 30 minutes to do this so it’s a small amount of time to help them. Makes we wonder and sad I’ve not done this more in past. And sadly we just don’t hear enough about the need to pray for the souls in purgatory. I recently purchased the Purgatorian Manual that has great daily reflections about this. But I guess as the modern mindset is ‘everybody’s saved!’….we cannot be surprised we don’t hear about purgatory more. Pray for them and for priests!

  9. Gregg the Obscure says:

    three down. six to go. Tuesday i had the opportunity to visit the cemetery where my father’s parents are buried. this weekend i will get to the one where my parents are buried and to the one where my wife is buried. won’t make a difference as to the indulgence, but will do my heart good.

  10. TKS says:

    I go to Daily Mass, receive Communion, say the Rosary out loud by myself if no one else is around, pray for the popes’ good intentions, and go to Confession every 5 weeks. I hope I have this right since I’ve been doing it for decades.

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