Monday, November 2, 2009

The Feast of All Souls

In Munich, where I spent the better part of my formative years, All Souls was a day for tending the graves, which are usually beautifully tidy anyway, but the plants--not cut flowers or (shivers!) artificial foliage are changed to heartier mums and evergreens to bear the cold winter.
Each little plot usually has a place for a votive candle, and some even have covered fonts for holy water. As you can imagine, with the plants, the headstones, the shady trees and the benches here and there, the cemetery has an almost park-like atmosphere.
And it is quite beautiful at night as well.

We will be making a stop at our little cemetery up on the hill today, and praying for the Poor Souls. Below are the regulations currently in force regarding plenary indulgences:

1) On All Souls' Day, a plenary indulgence, applicable only to the Poor souls, is granted to those who visit any parish church or public oratory and there recite one Our Father and one Credo.

2) On all the days from November 1 through November 8 inclusive, a plenary indulgence, applicable only to the Poor souls, is granted to those who visit a cemetery and pray, even if only mentally, for the departed.

Conditions for both indulgences:
1) Only one plenary indulgence can be gained per day.

2) It is necessary to be in the state of grace, at least by completion of the work.

3) Freedom from attachment to sin, even venial sin, is necessary; otherwise the indulgence is only partial. (By this is meant attachment to a particular sin, not sin in general.)

4) Holy Communion must be received each time the indulgence is sought.

5) Prayers must be recited for the intentions of the Holy Father on each day the indulgence is sought. (No particular prayers are prescribed. One Our Father and one Hail Mary suffice, or other suitable prayers.)

6) A sacramental confession must be made within a week of completion of the prescribed work. (One confession made during the week, made with the intention of gaining all the indulgences, suffices.)

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