How do we keep great feasts of the year in the midst of a pandemic, which seems to be on the rise worldwide? The Church helps us by giving new regulations to help us stay safe.
full indulgences traditionally obtained during the first week of November for
the souls of the faithful in purgatory can now be gained throughout the entire
month of November, the
All Souls Day - Jakub Schikaneder- Czech (d. 1924)
Traditionally, the faithful could receive a full indulgence each day from Nov. 1 to Nov. 8 when they visited a cemetery to pray for the departed and fulfilled other conditions, and, in particular, when they went to a church or an oratory to pray Nov. 2, All Souls' Day.
Also, those who are ill or homebound and would not be able to physically visit a church or cemetery in the prescribed timeframe still will be able to receive a plenary indulgence when meeting certain conditions, the Apostolic Penitentiary, a Vatican tribunal that deals with matters of conscience, said in a notice recently released.
The new provisions were made after a number of bishops asked for guidance as to how the faithful could perform the works required for receiving a plenary indulgence given the ongoing pandemic and restrictions in many parts of the world limiting the number of people who can gather in one place.
Bishops' conferences in countries where large numbers of faithful traditionally go to confession, attend Mass and visit cemeteries during the week had asked how the faithful could be accommodated given COVID-19 restrictions or in the case that a member of the faithful was ill, in isolation or in quarantine, the cardinal said.
Those who cannot leave their homes or residence for "serious reasons," which includes government restrictions during a pandemic, he said, also can receive a plenary indulgence after reciting specific prayers for the deceased or reflecting on a Gospel reading designated for Masses of the dead before an image of Jesus or the Blessed Virgin Mary, or by performing a work of mercy.
In all cases, one also must fulfill the normal requirements set by the church for all plenary indulgences, which demonstrate a resolve to turn away from sin and convert to God. Those conditions include: having a spirit detached from sin; going to confession as soon as possible; receiving the Eucharist as soon as possible; praying for the pope's intentions; and being united spiritually with all the faithful.
“Have we any right to take it strange, if, in this English land, the spring-time of the Church should turn out to be an English spring, an uncertain, anxious time of hope and fear, of joy and suffering,—of bright promise and budding hopes, yet withal, of keen blasts, and cold showers, and sudden storms?”