Vatican official highlights confession on All Saints, All Souls Day

Confessional Credit Ivan U Shutterstock CNA Ivan U / Shutterstock.

It is fitting for Catholics to go to confession on All Saints Day and All Souls Day, and to pray for the dead, the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary said in a letter published Oct. 29.

"Therefore, let us go, indeed run to the confessional in these holy days! We humbly and devoutly, joyfully and generously welcome the gift of the plenary indulgence and offer it, with great generosity, to our brothers, who, having crossed the threshold of time, can no longer do for themselves, but can still receive much from our charity," said Cardinal Mauri Piacenza in the letter, which was originally published in Italian.

Piacenza leads the Vatican's Apostolic Penitentiary, which deals with sacramental dispensations, indulgences, and the removal of excommunications. He said Catholics should take advantage of the sacraments during these days, and should offer prayers for those who are deceased.

All Saints Day is celebrated on Nov. 1, and is a Holy Day of Obligation in the United States. It honors all souls in heaven. The following day is All Souls Day, which is celebrated for the souls of all the faithfully departed.

During this time, Catholics have many chances to attain a special plenary indulgence, which Piacenza encourages everyone to do.

On All Souls Day, a Catholic can receive a plenary indulgence that is only applicable to souls in purgatory after visiting a church on the day and praying an Our Father and the Creed, along with the other requirements of a plenary indulgence.

Piacenza stated that offering this indulgence to someone who has died continues and strengthens the relationship and love that began on earth.

During the first eight days of November, a Catholic has another chance to obtain a plenary indulgence for a soul in purgatory: by visiting a cemetery and praying for the dead.

The act of acquiring an indulgence, for either oneself or for a deceased person is an act of renewal of one's faith, Piacenza wrote. In order to get the indulgence, a person must receive the Eucharist, go to confession, and pray for the intentions of the pope. A person must fully detach themselves from sins, and be in a state of grace--all of which amounts to what is effectively a spiritual workout.

"With these simple and concrete gestures, each member of the faithful reaffirms his full communion with the Church, renewing the acceptance of all spiritual and supernatural goods, which derive from this participation," he said.

Subsequently, by the act of going to confession and confessing sins with contrition "not only does the faithful accept the supernatural grace of reconciliation, but with this gesture he also reaffirms his own faith, seeing it thus strengthened and strengthened, objectively by grace and personally by virtue of the concurrence of his own freedom," he said.

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