Indulgence for a Visit to a Church or Oratory on All Souls Day

Release a Soul From Purgatory

Saint Lawrence Liberates Souls From Purgatory
Saint Lawrence Liberates Souls from Purgatory. Scenes from the Life of Saint Lawrence, predella, ca. 1412. Found in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum, New York. Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images

November 2 is All Souls Day, the day on which the Roman Catholic Church commemorates all of those who have died and are now in Purgatory, being cleansed of their venial sins and atoning before entering fully into Heaven. At one time, Catholics flocked to their churches on All Souls Day, to offer prayers in memory of their friends and loved ones. These days, however, most All Souls Day Masses are poorly attended.

Since praying for the dead is our Christian duty, it's sad to see how little attention is paid to All Souls Day. That's especially true since there is a special plenary indulgence that can be gained for the souls in Purgatory on All Souls Day. A plenary indulgence removes all temporal punishment for sin—and so, in effect, releases a soul from Purgatory.

To obtain the plenary indulgence, you must visit a church, recite one Our Father and the Creed, receive Communion, and pray one additional Our Father and one Hail Mary for the intentions of the Holy Father. (In addition, you must have no attachment to sin, even venial.)

The final requirement is that you take part in the Sacrament of Confession, but you can do that up to seven days before or afterward. Since most Catholic parishes offer Confession on Saturday, you can go to Confession on the Saturday before or after All Souls Day, and then fulfill the rest of the requirements on All Souls Day itself.

The All Souls Day indulgence is a wonderful way to show your love for a friend or family member who has died. In less than an hour on All Souls Day, you can release a soul from Purgatory. Why not gain the indulgence for your loved one?

Listing in the Enchiridion of Indulgences (1968)

67. Visitatio ecclesiae vel oratorii in Commemoratione omnium fidelium defunctorum

Type of Indulgence

Plenary. Available on All Souls Day (November 2, or November 3 in the Extraordinary Rite, if November 2 falls on a Sunday and the commemoration is transferred). Also available on the Sunday before or after November 2 or All Saints Day, with the permission of the local bishop.


Applies only to the souls in Purgatory

The Work of the Indulgence

A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, is granted to the faithful, who on the day dedicated to the Commemoration of all the faithful departed, piously visit a church, a public oratory or—for those entitled to use it—a semipublic oratory.

The above indulgence can be acquired either on the day designated above or, with the consent of the Ordinary, on the preceding or following Sunday or the feast of All Saints.

In visiting the church or oratory, it is required, according to Norm 16 of the same Apostolic Constitution, that "one Our Father and the Creed be recited."