Dear Friend in Christ, the Month of the Holy Souls is fast approaching. Once again, Catholics all over the world remember their deceased loved ones on 2 November, All Souls Day.
The souls of our departed dear ones, commonly termed the Souls in Purgatory, or the Holy or Suffering Souls, are the souls of 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 to enter Heaven but must first be purified in Purgatory. It is the teaching of the Church that these souls are aided by our prayers and good works, and especially by the Sacrifice of the Mass. Though they cannot help themselves, it is commonly believed that they can assist us, and the Church commends our prayers for their intercession.
The existence of Purgatory is so certain that no Catholic has ever entertained a doubt of it. It was taught from the earliest days of the Church and was accepted with undoubting faith wherever the Gospel was preached. The doctrine is revealed in Holy Scripture, and has been handed down by Tradition, taught by the infallible Church and believed by the millions and millions of faithful of all times.
The most powerful form of prayer for the Souls in Purgatory is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Flowers decorate a grave but wither and die, with no benefit to the soul of the deceased at all. We, the living, have the opportunity to assist the Holy Souls in Purgatory through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This privilege may applied for the souls of the baptised or ubaptised.
At every Holy Mass, we enter into the timeless reality of the perfect and acceptable Sacrifice of Christ to the Father for our sake. And from that Sacrifice, immeasurable graces flow for all people and especially for those for whom the Mass is being offered. This is particularly the case for the deceased who may be undergoing purification in Purgatory to prepare them for the joy of heaven. We can offer the Holy Souls no better comfort and solace than to attend a Mass for them, or have Masses said for them.
As such, we have prepared special envelopes for this purpose. Not only will your departed dear ones be remembered and prayed for on 2 November at Holy Mass at our parish, but throughout the month, as their names will be displayed on a special notice board at our Church.
We also encourage you to pray privately for your departed loved ones, and to remember them lovingly especially in the month of November.
Rector St Ann