Today is the Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed (or All Souls' Day) when we remeber and pray for those in purgatory.
The Vatican recently published a decree in which it stated that plenary indulgences can be obtained in favour of the faithful departed throughout the entire month of November.
Vatican News reportes that the decree allows the faithful to gain plenary indulgences for the souls in purgatory by visiting a cemetery on any day in November and praying for those who have died; normally, the indulgence is limited to the first eight days of the month.
A second plenary indulgence is also established for the day of the commemoration of the faithful departed, All Souls’ Day. The current decree allows the faithful to obtain that indulgence for the benefit of the deceased on any day of November, at their choice.
An indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment one deserves for one’s sins; people often will seek the indulgence on behalf of a loved one who has died or, especially in early November, for an unknown soul in purgatory.
The Church teaches that prayer, particularly the Mass, and sacrifices may be offered on behalf of the souls in purgatory. The feast of All Souls differs from the feast of All Saints (1 Nov) because it offers prayers for the eternal peace and heavenly rest of all those who died in a state of grace, but not totally purified.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.”
Read the Vatican News article here. Also see this article. Archbishop Cushley offers Mass today for the dead at Mount Vernon Catholic Cemetery in Edinburgh.