The month of November is dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

The practice of praying for the dead is rooted in scripture and remains a staple in Catholic spirituality (not just in November, but every day.)

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church,

“All who die in God’s grace and friendship but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death, they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.” (CCC 1030)

Purgatory is not a second chance for souls to repent. Instead, it is a state of purification for those destined to be in Heaven.

Why do we pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory?

In short, because our prayers help them!

Saint John Vianney said,

“Consider then...the magnitude of these sufferings which the souls in Purgatory endure; and the means which we have of mitigating them: our prayers, our good works, and, above all, the holy sacrifice of the Mass” 

There are many ways we can pray for the souls in Purgatory. Below you will find just seven ways to do so this month and throughout the year!

purgatory, sacrifice, divine mercy chaplet, how to pray the office of the dead
Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

1. Make Sacrifices for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

Mortifications throughout your day can be offered up for the purification of souls in Purgatory! Examples include skipping the creamer in your coffee, holding your tongue when tempted to gossip, or fasting from social media on Sundays–to name a few.

2. Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

You can find a guide for praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet here.

3. Pray the Office of the Dead.

The National Catholic Register has a guide here.

eternal rest prayer, prayers for souls in purgatory, faithful departed
Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

4. Request a Mass to be offered for the repose of souls (or a deceased family member or friend)

In addition, you can offer your communion for the souls in Purgatory. What an incredible gift!

5. Add the “Eternal Rest” Prayer to Your Regular Prayer Routine

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord. And let the perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

visit a cemetary in november, prayers for holy souls in purgatory
Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

6. Visit a Cemetery and Pray for the Departed

Praying for the dead is a spiritual work of mercy! Take the time to visit the graves of loved ones–or even strangers. There are so many souls who are not prayed for.

prayer of saint gertrude, saint gertrude, saint gertrude 1000 souls
Caroline Perkins, ChurchPOP

7. Pray Saint Gertrude's Prayer for Souls in Purgatory

It is said that this powerful prayer can release 1,000 souls from Purgatory!

Eternal Father, I offer You 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, for those in my own home and in my family. Amen.

In praying for the faithful departed, I’m reminded of this powerful quote from Venerable Fulton Sheen:

“As we enter heaven, we will see them, so many of them coming towards us and thanking us. We will ask who they are, and they will say a poor soul you prayed for in Purgatory.”
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