In November 2008, after being a Catholic for over 30 years, I was introduced to these special indulgences for faithful departed:
A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the souls in Purgatory, may be gained on the 2nd by making a pious visit to a church to pray a Our Father and the Apostles Creed
A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, may also be gained from November 1 to November 8 by visiting cemeteries and praying The Requiem (aka the Eternal Rest Grant Unto Thee, Lord) prayer for the souls of the departed. (fisheaters.com)
Images from the cemetery for the Congregation of Holy Cross on the campus of Stonehill College in North Easton, MA
Overcoming Fear for a Good Cause
Fascinated by this Spiritual Work of Mercy, I pushed past my usual fear of all things death and dying, and made daily pilgrimages during the first week of November to local cemeteries to pray for the dead. It was incredibly moving to be walking among the graves, reading names of people I knew and I did not know, those who had died long before my lifetime or those whose lose was still fresh on my heart. The grace of offering these 8 days of prayer for souls changed my faith life forever. My once gripping fear was replaced with overwhelming compassion which compels me to pray daily for the faithfully departed.
The Holy Souls in Purgatory are my good friends.” The Holy Souls in Purgatory. Out of charity, out of justice, and out of excusable selfishness — they have such power with God! — remember them often in your sacrifices and in your prayers. May you be able to say when you speak of them, “My good friends the souls in purgatory.” The Way, 571 (JosemariaEscriva.info).
My love for this devotion runs so deep. Case in point. While visiting Hollywood in 2013 and offered the choice between shopping on Rodeo Drive or visiting the Hollywood Forever cemetery; not only did I CHOOSE the cemetery but I can honestly say it was one of the HIGHLIGHTS of my trip!! It is not every day you get the opportunity to pray for Santa Claus, aka Mickey Rooney!!
Hollywood Forever cemetery, CA. This was truly one of my FAVORITE parts of my LA trip!
How To Pray for Souls
During November 1 through 8th, I will attend Mass every day. After Mass, I will visit a cemetery to pray for all those buried there. This devotion to the pray for the faithfully (and even the not so faithfully) departed has been a great source of blessings and grace, one I consider a great privilege to participate in.
The prayer taught to me, which is actually a set of prayers, is the one presented in The Pieta Prayer Book and is truly one of my absolute favorites.
While at the cemetery (**personally, I like to walk up and down the rows, looking prayerfully at each name) we are to pray: