Yesterday was the Solemnity of All Saints, where the church recognises all those who have gone before us in faith and have not yet been beatified or canonised by the church.
Today we celebrate the feast of All Souls, where we are asked to pray for all the souls in Purgatory, as well as throughout the month of November – Month of the Holy Souls. Holy Mother Church reminds us that an indulgence is given in November between 1st and the 8th to those who meet the normal requirements. A Prayer for the souls in Purgatory is a requirement of Christian charity, and it helps us to call to mind our own mortality. This indulgence for a visit to a cemetery encourages us to spend even the briefest of moments in prayer for the dead.
To obtain the plenary indulgence on November 1-November 8, we must receive Communion and sacramental Confession (and have no attachment to sin, even venial). Communion must be received each day we wish to gain the indulgence, but we only need to go to Confession once during the period. And, as with all plenary indulgences, we must pray for the intentions of the Holy Father (one Our Father and one Hail Mary) each day we perform the work of the indulgence.