Tag Archives: Purgatory

A Prayer for the Forgotten Holy Souls

We often think of friends and family who have died and wonder if their immediate loved ones are praying for them after death. There are also the people who died long ago or who were ignored and abandoned in this life and have no one to pray for them now.  This is the prayer for all of these beloved children, awaiting to enter their eternal homeland.

souls(Czech artist Jakub Schikaneder’s 1888 painting “All Souls Day”)

O merciful God, take pity on those souls who have no particular friends and intercessors to recommend them to Thee, who, either through the negligence of those that are alive, or through length of time are forgotten by their friends and by all.

Spare them, O Lord, and remember Thine own mercy, when others forget to appeal to it. Let not the souls which Thou has created be parted from Thee, their Creator. They are Thy work, and though they  have sinned, they have been redeemed by Thee.

Vouchsafe, therefore, to look upon them  and to deliver them from the intolerable pain of absence from Thee; the light and love of all Thy creatures. Oh! place them in the number of Thy blessed Saints and citizens through Jesus Christ their Savior. Amen.

(Courtesy of the Desert Nuns)

l1-poor-souls-altarThis picture is of the side altar at St. Michael’s Church in Chicago, a church that survived the great fire. It is called the Poor Souls altar and shows a soul being raised from purgatory to be united with Christ through the intercession of a priest during Mass. Have a Mass said for a poor soul today!

A Latin phrase at the bottom inset of the Altar is translated as “The written book will be brought forth, in which the whole is contained whence the world is to be judged.”

Praying for the Holy Souls

holysoulsThe Holy Father, Pope Francis, greeted 80,000 people during his general audience on Wednesday and reminded those present and all the baptized that the communion of the saints “goes beyond the earthly life, goes beyond death and lasts forever. This union between us goes beyond and continues in the afterlife. It is a spiritual union that comes from Baptism, that is not broken by death, but, thanks to that Christ who is risen, is destined to find its fulfillment in eternal life. There is a deep and indissoluble bond between those who are still pilgrims in this world, among us, and those who have crossed the threshold of death into eternity. All the baptized here on earth, the souls in Purgatory and all the saints who are already in heaven form one big family.”

On November 2, All Souls Day, those of us who dearly miss loved ones who have gone before us can obtain a plenary indulgence for the Holy Souls. Here are two ways to do it:

1)     On November 2, visit a church or oratory and pray an Our Father and Creed

2)     From November 1 to 8, visit a cemetery and pray for the Poor Souls

The usual requirements for a plenary indulgence are necessary: confession within 8 days, prayers for the Holy Father, Holy Communion, be in a state of grace.

“An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven” (CCC 1471). A partial indulgence can be obtained anytime for the Holy Souls by praying: Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

 St. Alphonsus Liguori said, “Here let me make a digression in favor of those holy souls. If we desire the aid of their prayers, it is but fair that we should mind to aid them with our prayers and good works. I said it is fair, but I should have said it is a Christian duty; for charity obliges us to succor our neighbor when he requires our aid….Those souls are not ungrateful, and will never forget the great benefit we do them in relieving them of their pains, and in obtaining for them, by our prayers, anticipation of their entrance into glory; so that when they are there they will never neglect to pray for us.”

May we remember especially the poor souls who have no one to pray for them.

Holy Souls

Let’s once again unite our prayers this month with those of Pope Benedict XVI. Here are the Holy Father’s intentions for November 2011, as published by the Apostleship of Prayer:

Eastern Catholic Churches. That the Eastern Catholic Churches and their venerable traditions may be known and esteemed as a spiritual treasure for the whole Church.

Justice and Reconciliation in Africa. That the African continent may find strength in Christ to pursue justice and reconciliation as set forth by the Second Synod of African Bishops.

Since the 16th century, Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. As a reminder of our duty to pray for those in Purgatory, the Church has dedicated the month of November to the Holy Souls.

The Holy Souls in Purgatory are those who have died in the state of grace but who are not yet free from all punishment due to their unforgiven venial sins and all other sins already forgiven for which satisfaction is still to be made. They are certain of entering Heaven, but first they must undergo purification.

The Holy Souls cannot help themselves because for them the night has come, when no man can work (John 9:4). It is our great privilege as their brothers and sisters in Christ that we can shorten their time of separation from God by our prayers, good works, and, especially, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.