The Month of November is, liturgically speaking, dedicated to the Souls in Purgatory, whose feast day is today, November 2nd.
It has long been the case that special indulgences can be obtained for the dead during the month of November.
This year, due to the COVID pandemic, the Apostolic Penitentiary has extended the time period during which the acts required to obtain these indulgences may be performed.
This is a rare bright spot in the Church’s reaction to coronavirus, and offers the faithful an opportunity to do these good works on behalf of the souls of the faithful departed who have not yet been released from Purgatory.
The decree issued last month on this matter by the Apostolic Penitentiary listing the conditions for obtaining the indulgences follows.
Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary on Plenary Indulgences for the deceased faithful in the current pandemic, 23.10.2020
This year, in the current circumstances due to the “Covid-19” pandemic, the Plenary Indulgences for the deceased faithful will be extended throughout the entire month of November, with adaptation of works and conditions to guarantee the safety of the faithful.
This Apostolic Penitentiary has received many petitions from holy Pastors who have asked that this year, due to the “Covid-19” epidemic, pious works be commuted in order to obtain the Plenary Indulgences applicable to souls in Purgatory, in accordance with the Manual of Indulgences (conc. 29, § 1). For this reason, the Apostolic Penitentiary, on the special mandate of His Holiness Pope Francis, willingly establishes and decides that this year, in order to avoid gatherings where they are forbidden:
a.- the Plenary Indulgence for those who visit a cemetery and pray for the deceased, even if only mentally, normally established only on the individual days from 1 to 8 November, may be transferred to other days of the same month, until its end. These days, freely chosen by the individual believers, may also be separate from each other;
b- the Plenary Indulgence of 2 November, 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.
The elderly, the sick and all those who for serious reasons cannot leave their homes, for example because of restrictions imposed by the competent authority in this time of the pandemic, in order to prevent numerous faithful from crowding into the holy places, will be able to obtain the Plenary Indulgence as long as they join spiritually with all the other faithful, completely detached from sin and with the intention of complying as soon as possible with the three usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father’s intentions), before an image of Jesus or the Blessed Virgin Mary, recite 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.
For an easier attainment of divine grace through pastoral charity, this Penitentiary earnestly prays that all priests with the appropriate faculties offer themselves with particular generosity to the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance and administer Holy Communion to the sick.
However, as far as the spiritual conditions for fully achieving the Indulgence are concerned, it is worth recalling the indications already issued in the “Note on the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the current pandemic” issued by the Apostolic Penitentiary on 19 March 2020.
Finally, since the souls in Purgatory are assisted by the prayers of the faithful and especially by the sacrifice of the Altar to God (cf. Conc. Tr. Sess. XXV, decr. De Purgatorio), all priests are strongly invited to celebrate Holy Mass three times on the day of the Commemoration of all the deceased faithful, in accordance with the Apostolic Constitution “Incruentum Altaris“, issued by Pope Benedict XV, of venerable memory, on 10 August 1915.
This Decree is valid throughout the entire month of November, notwithstanding any provision to the contrary.
Given in Rome, from the seat of the Apostolic Penitentiary, on 22 October 2020, memorial of Saint John Paul II.
Maurus Card. Piacenza
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