Father Tom Shoemaker, Pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Fort Wayne, celebrated Mass for the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls’ Day) on Nov. 2 at the Catholic Cemetery. More than 100 people came to pray for the dead and gain a plenary indulgence for any souls in purgatory who might need prayers. In his homily, Father Shoemaker reminded those present to pray for the souls of loved ones throughout November, the month the Church dedicates to praying for the deceased. He pointed out the nearby gravestones of priests from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and noted that many religious sisters were also interred close to the outdoor altar.
He explained that, to gain the plenary indulgence, those present would need to complete a few requirements. First, a person must be a Catholic in good standing, and in a state of grace. To gain this indulgence, one must visit a cemetery – any cemetery, Catholic or otherwise – with the express purpose of gaining the indulgence and to pray for the dead and for the petitions of the Holy Father. That person must also go to Confession within 20 days of this act and receive Communion on the same day, a condition which those present have already met. Father Shoemaker led those present in prayer at the end of the Mass to fulfil the first of the requirements.
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