There is sometimes confusion as to the precise conditions for the obtention of plenary indulgences for the faithful departed during the “octave” of All Souls (1-9 Nov). Here they are, according to the Handbook of Indulgences issued by the Holy See in 1968.
1. Be in a state of grace.
2. Visit a cemetery and say some prayers for the poor souls during the period of 1 to 9 November.
3. Go to confession and Communion about a week before or after the day the indulgence is gained. According to the Handbook of Indulgences, issued by the Holy See on June 29, 1968, the conditions of confession, Communion, and prayer for the Pope‘s intention may be fulfilled several days before or after the performance of the prescribed work. But it is fitting that the prayers for the Pope and Communion be on the same day as the work is performed. And though one confession suffices for gaining several plenary indulgences on different days, Communions must be received and prayers for the Pope’s intentions recited for the gaining of each plenary indulgence.
4. Say a prayer for the intention of the Supreme Pontiff. This condition is satisfied by the recitation of an Our Father and a Hail Mary. If one visits a church to gain the indulgence (which can be done on 2 November itself), the prescribed prayer is one Our Father and one Creed.
The intentions of the Holy Father have been laid down by the Church and are:
a) the exaltation of Holy Mother Church;
b) the propagation of the Faith;
c) the eradication of heresy;
d) the conversion of sinners;
e) peace between Christian rulers;
f) all other goals for Christian people.
5. Have no attachment to sin, even venial.