The feast day of All Souls’ Day is celebrated on November 2. It is always celebrated the day after All Saint’s Day which is celebrated November 1.
The Church devotes the month of November to praying for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.
To understand the doctrine of purgatory, it is necessary to understand several beliefs of the catholic church.
- It is good to pray for the dead
- We believe in tradition
- Nothing unclean may enter heaven
Praying for the dead is a tradition which precedes the New Testament. In 2 Maccabees 23:45-46 it says:
“But if he was looking to the splendid reward that was laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, so that they might be delivered from their sin.“
Before we can enter into the presence of God in heaven we must be cleansed and purified. This process is known as purgatory. The bible teaches us that it is good to pray for the dead. Praying for those souls who are in the purification process in purgatory relieves the suffering of both the soul in purgatory and my own soul.
Many of the Saints had devotions of praying for the holy souls in purgatory. St. Gertrude the Great, St. Padre Pio and St. Margaret Mary are well known for their devotion to helping the souls in purgatory through prayer.
The Catholic Church believes in the power of prayer. When we pray for some one else this is called intercessory prayer. We ask the saints in heaven to pray for us on our journey. (The saints are interceding for us.) We also pray to Our Lord to guide those we love and hasten the journey of those who have died and are entering heaven. (We are interceding for the souls in purgatory.)
We believe that the more souls who are praying the better! The following prayer is a popular prayer asking for mercy for those who have died.
“Eternal Father, I offer thee the most precious Blood of thy divine son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.”
Prayer of St. Gertrude the Great
November is the Month of the Holy Souls