How to Spring a Soul from Purgatory in 4 Steps

According to the current Enchiridion of Indulgences, one can apply a plenary indulgence to a departed soul by the “visitation of a cemetery” {Coemeterii visitatio} from November 1st till the 8th (i.e. the octave of All Saints).

Catholic cemetary

Here’s the text:

13. Visit to a Cemetery (Coemeterii visitatio)

An indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, is granted to the faithful, who devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, even if only mentally, for the departed.

The indulgence is plenary each day from the 1st to the 8th of November; on other days of the year it is partial.

In order for the indulgence to be plenary, the following conditions must also be met alone with the visit and prayers at the cemetery:

  1. Sacramental confession within “about twenty days”[1] of the actual day of the Plenary Indulgence.
  2. Eucharistic Communion on the day of the Plenary Indulgence.
  3. Prayer for the intentions of the Pope on the day of the Plenary Indulgence.
  4. It is further required that all attachment to sin, even venial sin, be absent.[2]

Taking young people, particularly teenagers, to cemeteries to pray for the dead is a wholesome thing. Young people are not usually aware of their mortality. It’s a good thing to recognize the tombs of the dead…and pray for them.

Perhaps our culture’s fascination with death and horror movies is related to the fact that young people are isolated from death and prevented from attending funerals. Do you agree? Please leave a comment.


[1] Apostolic Penitentiary, Prot. N. 39/05/I (18 February 2005).

[2] If the latter detachment from sin is in any way less than perfect or if the prescribed three conditions are not fulfilled, the indulgence will be partial only. In accordance with the canonical norms 34 and 35 of the Enchiridion of Indulgences (1968), a confessor or bishop can dispense someone of one or two of the norms above.

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  • Lady Bird

    I have grandnieces and grandnephew – our relationships is surrogate grandparents. I took them to visit my parents, their great grand parents, grave. I explained to them about my parents and how they would be so proud of them. Their bodies, cremated, are here but they now reside in spirit with God. The kids were very interested in hearing about it. Their mom, my niece was very uncomfortable. I told her in front of the kids that death does not end a person, they are just a new creation with whom we will be united some day. I also told them death should not be something we wish for, but welcome when it does because we will get to be with God for eternity.

  • Allen Landes

    Hello Taylor, does the visit to a cemetery have to be the cemetery where the soul that we are praying for is laid to rest? The reason I ask is my non-Catholic father passed away this April, was cremated but has yet been intered in a proper resting place. My father was a devout Christian but not a Catholic and I want to make use of this indulgence for his soul.