How to Gain a Plenary Indulgence for the Holy Souls in Purgatory Any Day This November

Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P., Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (cropped)

The Vatican announced the renewal of the month-long Holy Souls Indulgence opportunity for November.

The renewed decree allows the faithful the opportunity to offer a plenary indulgence for the souls in purgatory.

Normally, the Church recognizes the indulgence from Nov. 1-8. However, due to the pandemic, the Vatican again extended it for the entire month of November.

“The Apostolic Penitentiary, having listened to the various pleas recently received from various Sacred Pastors of the Church, due to the continuing state of the pandemic, confirms and extends for the entire month of November 2021 all the spiritual benefits already granted on 22 October 2020,” the renewed decree states.

“Due to the ‘Covid-19’ pandemic, the Plenary Indulgences for the deceased faithful were extended for the entire month of November 2020.”

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This specific plenary indulgence releases a soul from temporal punishment in purgatory so they can immediately go to heaven. It applies to one soul of your choice each time you perform the normal conditions listed below.

Last year’s decree also adds the Nov. 2 All Souls’ indulgence, which is “established on the occasion of the Commemoration of all the deceased faithful for those who piously visit a church or oratory and recite the ‘Our Father’ and the ‘Creed’ there, may be transferred not only to the Sunday before or after or on the day of the Solemnity of All Saints, but also to another day of the month of November, freely chosen by the individual faithful..” (See below for indulgence conditions.)

Steps to Obtain a Plenary Indulgence for Souls in Purgatory this November:

1) Pray at a Cemetery

The 2020 decree asks the faithful to “visit a cemetery and pray for the deceased, even if only mentally.” Some suggested prayers include the Prayer of St. Gertrude or the Eternal Rest prayer.

2) Go to Confession & Receive Holy Communion

In order for one to obtain a plenary indulgence, whether it be for the poor souls or for oneself, the person must detach oneself from all sin. If the soul is not detached, a partial indulgence will be applied.

However, for the sick, elderly, homebound, or those who cannot go out due to coronavirus restrictions, they can “unite themselves spiritually to other members of the faithful.”

The decree encourages this prayer “before an image of Jesus or the Blessed Virgin Mary, reciting pious prayers for the deceased, for example, Lauds and Vespers of the Office of the Dead, the Marian Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, other prayers for the deceased dearest to the faithful, or occupy themselves in considered reading of one of the Gospel passages proposed by the liturgy of the deceased, or perform a work of mercy by offering to God the sorrows and hardships of their own lives.”

The individual must also have “the intention of complying as soon as possible,” to the three conditions (sacramental confession, holy communion, and praying for the Holy Father).

3) Pray for the Pope

The Church suggests that the faithful pray one ‘Our Father’ and one ‘Hail Mary’ for the Holy Father.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord. And let the perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

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[See also: “A Spirit All on Fire”: An Obscure 14th C. Saint’s Terrifying Vision of Purgatory]

[See also: 5 Powerful Prayers for the Poor Souls in Purgatory Every Catholic Should Know]

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Jacqueline Burkepile is the editor for the English edition of ChurchPOP. She is a journalist, former university campus minister, and a wife and mother. You can follow her posts on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.