COVID-19 response
Read more

Indulgences - Praying for the Holy Souls

Plenary Indulgence – Praying for your Loved Ones

Special provisions for the time of the COVID-19 pandemic  
Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary on Plenary Indulgences for the deceased faithful in the current pandemic, 23.10.2020 download PDF here  | Español  | Italiano

As you may know, for us as Catholics November is known as the month of “All Souls;” and it’s an opportune time to remember our deceased loved ones in a special way (and to also reflect on our own mortality, too).  We can do both of those things by making a visit to the graves of our loved ones.  In fact, there is a plenary indulgence connected to visiting a cemetery on any day between November 1st and November 8th each year. While visiting, make sure to spend some time in prayer for your loved ones, and maybe do a little sprucing up around their headstone.  But in order to obtain the plenary indulgence, you must also pray for the Pope’s intentions while you’re there (an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be will do), and make sure to receive Holy Communion and go to Confession during that time span.  The indulgence can be applied to yourself or anyone who’s deceased, and you can obtain one per day from the 1st  through the 8th. 

What does the plenary indulgence do?  It relieves any “temporal punishment” (spiritual damage) that we have done to ourselves through our sins.  That damage needs to be purified and transformed even after we’ve been forgiven!  To use an earthly example, even after you've been forgiven for throwing a rock to break a window, you still need to make amends; you still need to fix the window. 

Those who are canonized saints (and those who are very saintly people, go directly to heaven), but most people have not completed their earthly spiritual purification. We each need to go through a purification process either after death (Purgatory), or in this life, before we can enter into God’s presence in heaven.  And a plenary indulgence, as prescribed by the Church in Jesus’ name, is one beautiful way of being purified in this life or of helping the holy souls reach heaven.  We can pray for the holy souls in purgatory, but the saints do not need our prayers. And those in hell are beyond help from our prayers.

Remember, purgatory is one more gift of God's mercy. God really wants all of us to make it to heaven, but he will not force us. God is love and love means freedom. Anything less that free-will would make us either robots or puppets. Only people who are free can choose to love and can choose to follow Christ. Let's all help each other to get to heaven, okay?  See the Catechism on purgatory 1030-1032

We Pray What We Believe

Prayers for the Dead are Included in every Mass
Listen carefully at Mass and you will notice that we pray in each Eucharistic Prayer at every Mass for the faithul departed. It is a very Catholic thing to pray for the holy souls.
Read More


See The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Indulgences, sections 1471-1479

Catholic Encyclopedia articles about indulgences published on NewAdvent: Indulgences, what they are, what they are not. Read more.

See pertinent sections of the Catechism all on one page: Purgatory Q&A

Helpers of the Holy Souls - Apostolate of Purgatory (homepage)


Online Giving

Online Giving

Secure and Convenient Donate now!