Monday, November 2, 2009

All Souls Day

Today we celebrate All Souls Day. When I was a child in Catholic School it was (erroneously) explained to us that All Souls Day was like a feast day for all those people who are in heaven but aren’t canonized saints. Thus, with that explanation, the day took on a festive tone. This is NOT what this feast day is about.

All Souls Day is about praying for the Holy Souls in Purgatory who are still being purified before entering Heaven. Therefore it is not a feast of celebration, rather one of penance. This is why the Church encourages that black or violet vestments be worn on this day. The Church, in her great wisdom, provides this yearly reminder to pray for the dead. The Church also enriches this day with indulgences that gain be gained on behalf of those who have died. The following is from the Manual of Indulgences:

A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, is granted to the faithful who (1) on any and each day from November 1 to 8, devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, if only mentally, for the departed; (2) on All Souls Day, devoutly visit a church or an oratory and recite an Our Father and the Creed.
Remember, that the usual conditions for gaining and Indulgence apply, namely that you must carry out the work(s) with the general intention of gaining the indulgence, be free from all attachment to sin, even venial sin, have been to confession (you can go to confession several days before or after the work is carried out), go to Holy Communion, and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father (you must receive Holy Communion and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father for each indulgence that you wish to gain).

So, for the sake of your loved ones in Purgatory, gain these indulgences for them! They surely will appreciate it and pray for you when they reach heaven.

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