A lot of our Christian brothers and sisters have been in purgatory for many years. Most of them have been forgotten by their loved ones and some others do not even have anyone to pray for them.
Remember that any soul who finally finds his way into heaven as a result of your own prayers and good works would never forget you. He’ll continue interceding on your behalf till you join him in heaven.
As Christians, we ought to be looking out for our fellow Christians. Not just the Christians here on earth, but also the ones in purgatory. The souls in purgatory need you and I to save them. Make it your responsibility to send them to heaven to meet Jesus.
A partial indulgence can be obtained for the souls in purgatory when you devoutly visit a cemetery and pray for the departed. You can also gain a plenary indulgence for them by visiting a cemetery each day between November 1 and November 8.
A plenary indulgence is also granted them when you piously visit a church or a public oratory on November 2. In visiting the church or oratory, it is required, that one Our Father and the Creed be recited.
A partial indulgence can also be gained for them when the Eternal Rest (Requiem aeternam) is prayed. This can be prayed all year, but especially during the month of November:
Requiem aeternam dona ei (eis), Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei (eis). Requiescat (-ant) in pace Amen.
Eternal rest grant to 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 added to the end of the Prayer Before or Prayer After Meals. It can also be recited in between the decades of the rosary.
Note however, that these partial or plenary indulgences can only be gained when the faithful has the intention to gain the indulgence. Also, the conditions for gaining a partial or plenary indulgence include;
- The faithful must receive the sacrament of confession, either eight days before or after the pious act is performed,
- Receive Holy Communion on that day
- Recite prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father (one Our Father and one Hail Mary is the minimum, but any other additional prayers may be added).
All attachment to sin, even venial sin, must be absent. If one’s disposition is less than perfect or if some of the above conditions are not fulfilled, the indulgence becomes partial.
There are many other prayers which can be said for the holy souls in purgatory asides the standard acts of gaining plenary or partial indulgences. These prayers can help alleviate their sufferings and help them reach heaven more quickly;
The Prayer of St. Gertrude, below, is one of the most famous of the prayers for souls in purgatory. According to tradition, our Lord promised St Gertrude that 1000 souls would be released from purgatory each time this prayer is said devoutly.
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.
Other prayers/acts which can be offered for the souls in purgatory include;
- Offer up your Holy Communions for the souls in purgatory.
- Have Masses said for your departed loved ones, especially on the anniversary of his or her death.
- Pray The Way Of The Cross for Souls in Purgatory.
- Pray the special Holy Souls Rosary.
- Give alms: The giving of material assistance to the poor has always been considered a penance that can be offered for the Holy Souls.
- Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet for the intention of the Holy Souls.
- Eucharistic Adoration: visit the Blessed Sacrament to make acts of reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus for those in purgatory.
- Sacrifices: practice small acts of self-denial throughout your day and offer these penances up for the poor souls.
- Ask for the intercession of saints who were known to be great friends of the Holy Souls during their lifetime to join you in prayer for the faithful departed: St. Nicholas of Tolentino, St. Gertrude the Great, St. Catherine of Genoa, St. Padre Pio, St. Philip Neri, St. John Macías, St. Faustina Kowalska, St. Joseph, Our Lady, and others.
- Special prayers: Throughout your day, offer up short and spontaneous prayers (ejaculatory prayers) for the holy souls. Consider buying purgatory books with more prayers and special devotions for the Holy Souls.
- Repent of your offenses against God and go to confession: Confessing your own sins makes your prayers for souls of others more effective.
- Spread devotion to the Holy Souls: Make others aware of the great need these suffering souls have for our prayers.
We are all called to always pray for the departed all through the year, and not just in November. After these souls in Purgatory are in heaven, they will continue to intercede for us. Developing these prayerful habits for the holy souls in purgatory will constantly remind us of all that awaits us in the world beyond, and it would increase our charity towards others.