Archive for the ‘Indulgences’ Category


Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

QUESTION: What are INDULGENCES and do we still believe in them?

ANSWER: First of all, YES, as Catholics we still do believe in INDULGENCES! So, what are they?  Remember the difference between the eternal punishment due to mortal sin and the temporal punishment due to sin?  Well, an INDULGENCE is the remission before God of temporal punishment for sins whose guilt is already forgiven in the absolution we receive from the priest in the Sacrament of Penance, which a properly disposed member of the Christian faithful gains under certain and defined conditions by the assistance of the Church which, as minister of the redemption, dispenses and applies authoritatively from the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints (Code of Canon Law 992).  The Catechism of the Catholic Church states the following:  “An indulgence is obtained through the Church who, by virtue of the power of binding and loosing granted her by Christ Jesus, intervenes in favor of individual Christians and opens for them the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishment due for their sins. The Church does this not just to aid Christians, but also to spur them to works of devotion, penance, and charity” (CCC 1478).

In general, the gaining of indulgences requires certain prescribed conditions, and the performance of certain prescribed works. To gain indulgences, whether plenary or partial, it is necessary that the faithful be in the state of grace at least at the time the indulgenced work is completed [have gone to Confession at least 8 days before or 8 days after the indulgenced work].  A plenary indulgence can be gained only once a day, while one may gain several plenary indulgences in a single day. In order to obtain it, the faithful must, in addition to being in the state of grace through the Sacrament of Penance: have the interior disposition of detachment from sin, even venial sin; received the Holy Eucharist on the day of the indulgenced work, and prayed for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff (the Pope).  Prayer for the Pope’s intentions is left to the choice of the faithful, but an “Our Father” and a “Hail Mary” are suggested. One sacramental Confession suffices for several plenary indulgences, but a separate Holy Communion and a separate prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions are required for each plenary indulgence.  For the sake of those legitimately impeded, confessors can commute both the work prescribed and the conditions required (except, obviously, detachment from even venial sin). Indulgences can always be applied either to oneself or to the souls of the deceased, but they cannot be applied to other persons living on earth.  



Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

How to obtain a plenary indulgence for the Holy Souls

Plenary Indulgences which may be obtained only for the holy souls in purgatory each day from November 1st through 8th

From November 1st through 8th: Visit a cemetery* and pray for the holy souls (visit each day, plenary indulgence each day!);

On November 2nd, All Souls’ Day: Visit a church or a public oratory and pray the Our Father and the Apostles’ Creed once.

A partial indulgence can be obtained any time by visiting a cemetery and praying for the holy souls. The following prayer is especially recommended:

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.  Requiescant in pace.  Amen.

Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.  May they rest in peace.  Amen.


* Does not have to be a Catholic Cemetery: any cemetery will be sufficient.


Six general rules for obtaining a plenary indulgence:

  1. Be in a state of grace at least when performing the indulgenced act;
  2. Detachment from sin, even venial sin (a devout praying of the Act of Contrition helps us with this);
  3. Go to Confessions (About 8 days before or after the indulgenced act);
  4. Receive Our Lord in Holy Communion each day you intend to obtain a plenary indulgence;
  5. Pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff, Pope Francis; and
  6. Do the indulgenced act: a special good work with special conditions of place and time.

Plenary indulgences can be obtained only once a day, while one may obtain several partial indulgences on any given day.  Indulgences may be gained for the holy souls in purgatory or for oneself personally, but never for another living person.


Nov. 1st, 2nd and 3rd: Solemn Eucharistic Adoration (Forty Hours Devotion)

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

His Excellency, Bishop Swain, Names “Pilgrimage Churches” for the YEAR OF FAITH

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012


November 2nd: Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

On All Souls Day, Friday, November 2nd, following the morning Mass, the children and faculty of St. Mary School, along with about a dozen parishioners, made the formal “Visit to the Parish Cemetery for All Souls Day”.  Father Lawrence led the prayers for the Holy Souls as well as those prescribed for the intentions of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.  After a generous sprinkling with Holy Water, a special treat called “Soul Cakes” were blessed and distributed to the children to enjoy on their return journey to school.

N.B. “Soul Cakes” come to us from Mexico, and are only a small culinary sampling of the rich Latin American Catholic cultural celebration called  “Dia de los Muertos” or “Day of the Dead” (All Souls Day).  We thank Mrs. Barbara Stangeland for making the Soul Cakes.


All Souls’ Day

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Some photos of the High Altar following the Third Mass of the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls) in the Extraordinary Form:

A simple explanation of the doctrine of INDULGENCES by Cardinal Sean O’Malley

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

From Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s weblog:

I want to mention something about indulgences, which are often misunderstood.  Indulgences are not forgiveness for sin but forgiveness for temporal punishment due to sin.

I like to explain it to people with the following story:

As a child, once I came home very late for dinner. My mother was very upset, and seeing how upset she was, I felt very repentant and I told her that it would never happen again. She told me she forgave me, but as my punishment I would have to do the dishes.

So there was repentance and forgiveness, but there was still punishment.

But, as I started doing the dishes, my nana came in and said, “I will help you.”

That is an indulgence.

God loves us and he forgives us, but in His justice there is still some punishment for sin. The indulgence is when the merits and the sufferings of Jesus and the saints are applied to that punishment.

Bishop Finn of Kansas City, MO on Prayer for the Dead

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Reverend_Robert_W__FinnNovember begins with two great liturgical observances: the Solemnity of All Saints on Nov. 1, and the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed – also called “All Souls”- on Nov. 2. The celebration of Holy Mass is particularly meaningful on these days which remind us of the Communion of Saints to which we belong with those who have gone before us in faith.

Having grown up in a parish named “All Souls,” this day has always had a special meaning for me. Not only were we off school on All Souls day because it was our “feast day,” but we were encouraged to come to church and make a visit before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and offer prayers for the souls in purgatory.

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Church clearly affirms her belief that “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven” (CCC, no. 1030). The Church gives the name, “Purgatory,” to this work of purgation or purification, and urges us to pray for the dead, and to do good works (almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance) for their eternal well-being (CCC, nos. 1031-1032).

A special “Plenary Indulgence,” is granted by the Church, applicable to the souls in purgatory, when the Christian faithful devoutly visit a church or an oratory on All Souls Day, and offer some prayers for the faithful departed, minimally the Our Father and the Creed. The traditional prayers I was taught at an early age were the recitation of six Our Fathers, Hail Mary’s and Glory Be’s. I still make an All Souls Day visit each year for these intentions.

The plenary indulgence provides the remission of all temporal punishment due to sin, and assists to ready the person to enter into heaven. The “conditions” that must be met are: That the person making this prayerful visit to gain the indulgence for the poor souls should go to sacramental confession within several days preceding or following their visit and prayers; that they should receive Holy Communion worthily, and offer some prayer for the Pope’s intentions.

Having recently re-read the Pope’s Apostolic Constitution on the doctrine of indulgences, I have noted that the Ordinary (the Bishop) of the Diocese may extend the opportunity for the All Souls Day indulgence such that it can be gained either on All Souls Day or on the preceding or following Sunday, or on the Solemnity of All Saints. I gladly extend this privilege to the faithful within the churches and oratories of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph to this Sunday, so that more may take advantage of this grace of interceding on behalf of our brothers and sisters who have died in Christ.

Though it may seem “quaint” or even archaic to some, the notion of the indulgence is a meaningful expression of the doctrine of Grace and merit, and bears testimony to the power of our prayers for one another, even beyond this life. It also expresses the pastoral solicitude of the Vicar of Christ to “bind and loose” (cf. Matthew 16:19) as an expression of God’s mercy.

The greatest and most powerful prayer we can offer for the eternal salvation of those who have died is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Here the saving gift of Jesus Christ, dying and rising, is made present and its fruits or benefits are applied on behalf of the faithful.

The plenary indulgence proper to All Souls Day is a very special moment in the Church’s liturgical calendar for us to remember those who have gone before us. Let us remember throughout this month that “to pray for the dead is a holy and wholesome thought, that they may be loosed from their sins” (2 Mac 12: 46). Remember them every day before the Lord.