Helping the Poor Souls — No Excuse!

Halloween is here! I think my boys are more excited and hyper about this day than even Christmas! We are very low key on Halloween, and yet they still just love it for the dressing up, the carving of pumpkins, and the “trick or treating”.

I don’t hate the American Halloween, I’m just so tired that it sometimes feels to be a burden. But to see the joy on my boys’ faces because of the innocent fun makes it worth it.

I agree with Charlotte that a Halloween that is not “baptized” with Catholic traditions is fine. “Catholic” means universal, and in wearing costumes and trick or treating we are being universal, at least American universal.

We celebrate the Triple Play or “Triduum”, with each part of the Communion of Saints having their own day. We avoid the scary and just enjoy the secular fun (just like 4th of July!) on Halloween — this is our day for the Church Militant. We celebrate with the Church Triumphant on November 1, All Saints Day, and then we all pray for the Church Suffering on All Souls Day.

I know some of the pagan origins of Halloween, but there is nothing pagan or satanic in wearing costumes and begging for candy or carving pumpkins. So we can enjoy a fun time without guilt! Pictures later of our knight and Jedi knight in training.

This year we’re not even dressing up as saints on All Saints Day — shocking, I know!

Tomorrow is the beginning of the month of November, the month dedicated to the Poor Souls in Purgatory. I like to annually remind myself to pray for the Poor Souls. I’ve written before about All Souls Day and the month of November. I have an article on Catholic Culture: Praying for the Dead and Gaining Indulgences in November that especially highlights how we can receive plenary indulgences for the Poor Souls the first 8 days in November.

I don’t know where I’ve been for 13 years, but I just found out that conditions necessary for receiving that indulgence are lightened. Now there’s no excuse to be making those plenary indulgences daily! You can fufill your confession and communion in 20 days, not just 8 days! That makes it so much easier! I just found out this week, and then Father Z reinforced this!

When you perform the act or prayer with the intention of receiving the indulgence, traditionally you had to receive Communion on that day and confession within 8 days. But in the Year 2000 Jubilee Year the Apostolic Penitentiary relaxed the conditions for confession and communion. The precise details:

In order to obtain a plenary indulgence (only one per day), the faithful must, in addition to being in the state of grace:

— have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin; — have sacramentally confessed their sins; — receive the Holy Eucharist (it is certainly better to receive it while participating in Holy Mass, but for the indulgence only Holy Communion is required); — pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.

5. It is appropriate, but not necessary, that the sacramental Confession and especially Holy Communion and the prayer for the Pope’s intentions take place on the same day that the indulgenced work is performed; but it is sufficient that these sacred rites and prayers be carried out within several days (about 20) before or after the indulgenced act. Prayer for the Pope’s intentions is left to the choice of the faithful, but an “Our Father” and a “Hail Mary” are suggested. One sacramental Confession suffices for several plenary indulgences, but a separate Holy Communion and a separate prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions are required for each plenary indulgence.

Although this was given for the Jubilee Year, these “remain in effect, since it was contained under the “General remarks on indulgences,” and not under those specific to the Jubilee Indulgence.” See EWTN Indulgences — General Conditions for further explanation.

The only thing “impeding” is the attachment to sin. This post explains a little further that it isn’t that impossible. Further explanation is found again from the Apostolic Penitentiary 2004 Year of the Eucharist that “[…] as long as they are totally free from any desire to relapse into sin.”

Soooo, if I go to the cemetery to pray for the Dead, from November 1-8, get to Confession every 2 weeks, I have the groundwork set to receive plenary indulgences for those Poor Souls. I still need to get to communion for each indulgence, so that makes it a little more tricky, but the Confession part is so much easier.

I’m resolved to save as many as I can — how about you?

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