*** This post was originally published on 10/2010. It has been edited to add some books that I found for this month. ***
Contrary to popular belief, Halloween is not entirely about candy and costumes . Halloween means All Hallows Eve. Which would make November 1st All Hallows (or All Saints) Day. For those Catholics in the room, it is a Holy Day of Obligation, which means that after your sugar induced coma of Thursday, you should be in church bright & early. November 2 is All Souls Day and together they kick off the month of the Holy Souls in Purgatory.
Prayers for the dead, to ease their suffering in purgatory, is just as important as praying for family members and friends who are alive.
The easiest prayer is the prayer of Eternal Rest:
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.
This prayer can be directed up for a particular soul or for anyone in purgatory. We live a few blocks away from a cemetery & I try to remember to say this one everytime we drive by it.
In addition, the church provides a different prayer for souls in Purgatory for every day of the week. St. Alphonsis Ligouri has also written a novena for the holy souls in purgatory. Catholic Online has a list of several prayers for those in purgatory.
If you’ve never observed the month of the Holy Souls in Purgatory before, just start by (learning?) praying the Prayer of Eternal Rest daily. It’s short and takes just a minute and you could help relieve the suffering of someone in purgatory.
You can also get a plenary indulgence for a soul in purgatory (i.e. free a soul from purgatory) by participating fully in All Souls Day devotions. You will need to go to confession and receive communion within seven days of attending the church and saying the Our Father, Apostles Creed and the Hail Mary for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. So plan on attending confession, go to church and say a few prayers. For full details, visit Catholic Online and read the introduction & #67.
I’ve found a few activities and/or recipes to help celebrate this month:
- Saint Spoon Craft
- Catholic All-Saints party ideas (for large groups)
- November recipes from Catholic Cuisine
Books & DVD’s
Of course, I can’t end this post without a good book round-up right? I’ve found several books/DVD’s about purgatory. I haven’t read or viewed any of these. YET. They are all on my list though :).
- We Are Catholic #4: Purgatory (kids DVD)
- Praying with the Saints for the Holy Souls in Purgatory
- Prayers, Promises, and Devotions for the Holy Souls in Purgatory
Do you have any great links to stories or ways to enrich your prayer life for November?