Modifications to the Plenary Indulgence by His Holiness Pope Francis

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The Apostolic Penitentiary dicastery announced modifications to the Plenary Indulgence for the deceased during the month of November. The decree containing these modifications was signed Oct. 22 “… by the special mandate of His Holiness Pope Francis.” 

Plenary Indulgence during November

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the need to avoid large groups from forming where prohibited, the Plenary Indulgence applicable to the deceased by those who visit a cemetery has been extended beyond the normal dates of Nov. 1-8. This year, the indulgence can be obtained by anyone who visits a cemetery — even if only mentally — on any day in November and devoutly prays for the faithful departed.

For the Feast of All Souls’ Day

Regarding the Plenary Indulgence attached to All Souls’ Day on Nov. 2, this year it can be obtained not only on the preceding or succeeding Sunday, or on the actual Feast day, but on any other day of the month chosen by each member of the faithful. In this case, the indulgence is obtained by “devoutly visiting a church or an oratory,” along with the recitation of the Our Father and the Creed, and the other requirements associated with a Plenary Indulgence.

For the homebound

For anyone who cannot leave their home for various reasons, including COVID-19 restrictions, they too can obtain the Plenary Indulgence by “uniting themselves spiritually to other members of the faithful.” In this case, the condition of being “completely detached from sin” and the intention of completing the other requirements for obtaining a Plenary Indulgence remain. These conditions are Sacramental Confession, reception of Holy Communion and a prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions.

 

The Decree suggests that such prayer take place before an “image of Jesus or the Blessed Virgin Mary.” Among the various prayers that are recommended are “prayers for the deceased, Morning or Evening Prayer from the Office of the Dead, the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, meditating on various Gospel passages proposed for the liturgy of the Dead, or completing a work of mercy by offering to God the suffering and discomforts of one’s own life.”

The Decree asks that the Sacrament of Confession is  generously available and that Holy Communion is made available available to the sick. 

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