Monday, November 2nd, is the Feast of All Souls.
It is an act of charity to pray for the souls of the dead, and for the poor souls in purgatory for whom no one prays. There is a reason why we ought not "canonize" people at their funerals by declaring them to be in heaven. What is lost is that these souls are neglected by many when it comes to prayer. Catholics today are not catechized well on purgatory and therefore, do not pray for the dead. Below are some resources you may find helpful.
The Mass schedule at Assumption Grotto has been altered slightly to accomondate as many Masses as possible. Please take time out of your day to assist at Mass on this feast day.
- Masses begin at 6:00 a.m. and continue every hour until 11:00; and 7:00 p.m.
Fr. Perrone wrote on the subject of All Souls Day in his pastor's column:
Monday is All Souls Day. It is the appropriate sequel to All Saints Day in that its focus centers upon those who are in heaven’s antechamber, so to speak, the place of purification and patient waiting of souls to be found worthy of eternal blessedness. What detains them in purgatory is the residue of their sins which must first be cleansed. Unlike ourselves who, living on earth and in time, can do good things to compensate for our past sins, the souls in purgatory have no means of self help. Consequently, they must either bide the time in enduring the sufferings prescribed for their purification, or else be helped from the ‘outside,’ that is, from the Church on earth. It is both a duty and an honor for us to help the needy. In the case of these “poor souls,” our responsibility and charity are called for with greater force. For this reason the Church prays for the dead in the Mass and in the private prayers of individuals; she offers Masses for the dead (the Requiem and funeral Masses), and encourages us to obtain the indulgences for the dead by performing the specified prayers and practices.
Regarding Masses, we will have Requiem Masses prayed on Monday at 6:00 a.m., 7:00 a.m., 8:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m: seven Masses total. This is not only for the priest who is permitted to celebrate three Masses on this day, according to the traditional allowance of the Church, but for the people as well. You may assist at as many Masses as you find it in your heart to be present for. As for Holy Communion, however, the usual rule still applies: one may receive it only twice on a given day.
Regarding indulgences, all partial indulgences can be applied to the dead. For the plenary indulgence proper to All Souls Day, the following applies. One must visit a church on this day and spend some time (unspecified) praying for the dead. One must also add Lord’s Prayer and the Creed (Apostle’s Creed of the Sunday Mass creed). The other ‘usual conditions’ (see below) must also be present. If there is something unfulfilled in these conditions, the indulgence granted will be only partial.
Also, from November 1st through the 8th one may gain a plenary indulgence for the dead by visiting a cemetery (such as ours) and, while there, praying for the faithful departed. Again, there are no specified prayers to be said, except for those outlined in the ‘usual conditions,’ provided that one says, even only mentally, some prayers for the dead.
The ‘usual conditions’ are these: the one performing the work to gain the indulgence must be free from all sins, mortal and venial (venial sins can be remitted by an act of contrition, which is a good way to begin a work to gain an indulgence); one must receive the sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion: the Confession may be some days before or even after the day of the indulgenced work; the Communion preferably on the same day; one must add some prayers for the Pope (many different ones are possible, but the Lord’s Prayer and Hail Mary are sufficient).
Final word on indulgences for today: a plenary indulgence frees one from all the temporal punishment due to sins; a partial frees one from some of it. A plenary indulgence may be gained only once on any day.
If you want to learn more about purgatory, follow these links. Each takes you into a different level of detail.
- Purgatory (EWTN)
- Purgatory (Catholic Answers)
- Purgatory (Catholic Encyclopedia)
- Catholic Doctrine on Purgatory (Fr. John A. Hardon)
- Scripture Catholic: Purgatory
- Catholic Purgatory - What does it mean? (Beginning Catholic)
And, of course, Mother Angelica will tell you how to avoid purgatory!
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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!