Did you know that you can gain a plenary indulgence for the souls in purgatory if you visit a cemetery during the “Octave” of All Saints Day? That’s right. Let me explain.
First, what’s an “octave”? An ‘octave’ is a one-week celebration of a feast day in the Church. We have ‘octaves’ for Christmas, Easter, and All Saints Day, as well as other feast days during the year.
Second, what’s a plenary indulgence? The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains: “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.” “An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin.” Indulgences may be applied to the living or the dead. (CCC 1471)
Third, how do I gain the plenary indulgence this week? You can gain the plenary indulgence for the souls in purgatory – a specific one, or any in general – by visiting a cemetery, even for just a few minutes, and praying for the Holy Souls in purgatory. This can take just a few minutes. I like to pray one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be, and then recite “Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.” You can add additional prayers if you wish, and many are available for you conveniently and for free on the Relevant Radio App.
You can gain up to one plenary indulgence a day during the Octave by visiting the cemetery November 1-8, but the plenary indulgence can only be applied to the souls in purgatory. The regular conditions apply for the plenary indulgence. In addition to visiting the cemetery, you must go to confession that week, receive Holy Communion once for each plenary indulgence, pray for the Holy Father once for each, and be detached from any desire to sin. So, if you visit a cemetery once a day from November 1-8, and go to Confession once, Mass daily, pray for the Holy Father daily, and you are detached from any desire to sin, you could gain up to eight plenary indulgences for the souls in purgatory. Once released from purgatory, these saintly souls from heaven can and will pray for you.