The Communion of Saints

In the Apostle’s Creed, Catholics profess their belief in the Communion of Saints, an eternal spiritual union between all Christians in Heaven, in Purgatory, and on Earth. This is the Church.

As the Body of Christ with Jesus as the head, all of these living and dead members communicate with each other through prayer while cooperating and sharing all of the holy things that Jesus has given to his Church.

The Catholic Church teaches that there are three levels of this Communion of Saints: The Church Triumphant in Heaven, the Church Suffering in Purgatory, and the Church Militant on Earth.

The Church Triumphant consists of those saints who followed Jesus and lived good lives and who are now victorious in Heaven. They may have been officially canonized by the Church but many are not.

The souls of some who have died are in need of purification before they enter Heaven and are mercifully being purged of anything that would keep them apart from God. These are the Church Suffering who are in Purgatory.

Those who are still living as pilgrims on Earth are called the Church Militant because they are still striving for holiness and battling against sin and the devil.

No longer in need of prayers for themselves, the saints in Heaven constantly pray for the souls who are in Purgatory and on Earth. Souls in Purgatory do need prayers. They can pray for the souls on Earth but can not pray for themselves.

People on Earth can pray for each other and for the souls in Purgatory. They can also ask for prayers from other people, from the souls in Purgatory, and from the saints who are in Heaven.

All people who are part of the family of God:


True friends who accompany us:

Franciscan Media

An intimate union between Heaven and Earth:

St Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church Fernley

Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each part, brings about the body’s growth and builds itself up in love.

Ephesians 4: 15-16

A church that is beyond space and time:

Fr. Rob Galea

Spiritually united through prayer:


We believe in the communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on Earth, the dead who are attaining their purification, and the blessed in Heaven, all together forming one Church; and we believe that in this communion the merciful love of God and His saints is ever listening to our prayers, as Jesus told us: Ask and you will receive. Thus it is with faith and in hope that we look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.

Pope Paul VI, Solemni hac Liturgia, 30 June 1968

Made part of the Communion of Saints by Baptism:

Catholic Community of Ascension and St Augustine

Sharing the same divine life:

Creed 101

The three states of the Church. “When the Lord comes in glory, and all his angels with Him, death will be no more and all things will be subject to Him. But at the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on Earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating ‘in full light, God Himself triune and one, exactly as He is'”: All of us, however, in varying degrees and in different ways share in the same charity towards God and our neighbors, and we all sing the one hymn of glory to our God. All, indeed, who are of Christ and who have his Spirit form one Church and in Christ cleave together.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 954

All united with God’s love as the center:

St. Patrick’s Cathedral NYC

Communion of the living and the dead:

OP West

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

God is still in control:

Divine Mercy

Share this page with friends and family to start a conversation about your faith.

Don’t miss a post. Learn more about the Catholic Church and strengthen your Catholic faith.

Find more Fiercely Catholic video issues here.

Subscribe here.

Book a Fiercely Catholic program at your next conference, retreat, or other Catholic event.