All Souls Day

Often overshadowed by the two days preceding
it, Halloween (Oct. 31) and All Saints Day (Nov. 1), All Souls
Day is a solemn celebration commemorating all of those who
have died and are now in Purgatory, being cleansed of their
venial sins and the temporal punishments for the mortal sins
that they had confessed, and being made pure before entering
into the presence of God in Heaven.
On All Souls Day, we not only remember the dead, but we
apply our efforts, through prayer, almsgiving, and the Mass, to
their release from Purgatory. There are two plenary indulgences
attached to All Souls Day, one for visiting a church and another
for visiting a cemetery. (The plenary indulgence for visiting a
cemetery can also be obtained every day from November 1st –
8th, and, as a partial indulgence, on any day of the year.) While
the actions are performed by the living, the merits of the
indulgences are applicable only to the souls in Purgatory. Since
a plenary indulgence removes all of the temporal punishment
for sin, which is the reason why souls are in Purgatory in the
first place, applying a plenary indulgence to one of the Holy
Souls in Purgatory means that the Holy Soul is released from
Purgatory and enters Heaven.
Praying for the dead is a Christian obligation. The Church
devotes the month of November to prayer for the Holy Souls in
Purgatory, and participation in the Mass of All Souls Day is a
good way to begin the month.