How to Knock a Millennium Off Your Purgatory Time

I know we had a short discussion a while back about purgatory, and if there was any time component to it.  I was listening to Fr Phil Wolfe homilies recently, and he spoke about a pope who, at the time, had been considered to be very saintly by all who knew him.  When he died, this pope was given the grace to appear to a saintly abbess (three weeks before the official notice of his death reached them, by the way). He told her that he was in purgatory (and it was terrible) and would remain there for centuries for three “minor” faults. (The saint’s biographer omitted the faults out of respect for the pope).  He had been given the grace by Mary to appear to the abbess to ask all her nuns to pray for him – otherwise he would suffer for centuries.

On top of this, I remembered that Fr. Parkerson told us at the February TLM that the Church has traditionally allowed a partial indulgence of 20 days (or maybe 25) off purgatory time every time you bow your head at the name of Jesus.  So, after I finished a rosary while I was walking my mutt, my inner engineer came out, and I started wondering (assuming the Church’s tradition of indulgences in terms of time in purgatory is correct) if you just bowed your head every time you said the name of Jesus during the Hail Marys in a rosary, how much time could you knock off for a soul in purgatory?

Doing the count, there are 54 Hail Marys in the rosary (assuming you say the prayers for the Holy Father at the end) which means 54 instances of saying Jesus’ name and bowing your head. Using Fr. Parkerson’s number of 20 days for each time you do it, that would mean: 1080 days, or 2 years and 350 days—nearly 3 years!

What would that add up to if you did a single rosary every day for a year, bowing your head at the name of Jesus during every Hail Mary?

Answer: 394,200 days—or 1080 years!

That’s right, boys and girls! Just that simple little practice would cancel a MILLENNIUM of purgatory time!!  (And even if it’s not time-related, still that’s a lot of partial indulgences for something so simple.)

Something to think about, no?

Vivo Cristo Rey!



[Editor’s Note: Ted is a McDonald’s Synod father, which meets after the 7 am mass and before we have to trudge off to work. Rumor has it that the Germans criticized Ted’s commentary on purgatory, saying that “it didn’t go far enough.” Instead, they propose getting rid of purgatory altogether on the grounds that it is unscientific and “potentially harmful to one’s full psychosexual integration.” We wait on pins and needles to find out how the atheists will vote, the second largest voting bloc after the LGBTs.] 😉

Photo of Synod Hall

Synod Hall—Where the venerable synod fathers gather to discuss important matters of Church & State. The motto of this solemn synod is displayed on the wall, but the Germans would not allow it to appear in Latin.

2 thoughts on “How to Knock a Millennium Off Your Purgatory Time

  1. John Gravino

    As I was praying the rosary in church this morning before mass, I made a conscious effort to bow my head at the name of Jesus every time. I was self-conscious at first, but I overcame that when I thought about all the purgatory time i was canceling.
    Then something occurred to me: THE FATIMA PRAYER AT THE END OF EACH DECADE: “Oh, my JESUS, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell. . . .” That adds five more utterances of “Jesus,” which means 100 more days off of purgatory per rosary, taking the grand total to 1180 days off of purgatory per rosary!

    1. M. Sholomicky

      I’ve been doing this since I was a little girl. A very good nun taught us to do this. I was never told about an indulgence though. Good news!
      Don’t forget Jesus is named in the Creed at the start of the rosary!
      Also I’ve gotten into the habit in the past few years to bow my head when we say Lord.

Leave a Reply