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November – month dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory
The month of November is dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory. The Church commemorates all her faithful children who have departed from this life, but have not yet attained the joys of heaven. St. Paul warns us that we must not be ignorant concerning the dead, nor sorrowful, “even as others who have no hope … For the Lord Himself shall come down from heaven … and the dead who are in Christ shall rise.
The Church has always taught us to pray for those who have gone into eternity. Even in the Old Testament prayers and alms were offered for the souls of the dead by those who thought “well and religiously concerning the resurrection.” It was believed that “they who had fallen asleep with godliness had great grace laid up for them” and that “it is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.” We know that a defiled soul cannot enter into heaven.
Excerpted from Liturgical Meditations, The Sisters of St. Dominic.
During the Month of November, the faithful can gain a plenary indulgence for the souls in purgatory by visiting a cemetery and praying there for the dead. In order to obtain the indulgence, a Catholic in the state of grace must have the intention to obtain it and fulfill the following conditions:
- visit a cemetery and pray there for the dead, even if only mentally
- make a sacramental confession (a single confession, within about 20 days before or after, will suffice for all the indulgences a person obtains within that time period)
- receive Holy Communion
- recite at least one Our Father and one Hail Mary for the Holy Father
- be free from attachment to all sin, including venial