Praying for the Dead

Although the souls of the faithful departed are separated from their bodies, they continue to exist as part of the Communion of Saints who pray for each other.

Catholics should never presume that their loved ones are already with the saints in Heaven where they do not need prayers, or damned to Hell where prayers do them no good.

After the consoling prayers at the funeral Mass and the moving rituals at a cemetery, Catholics should continue to assist those who have gone before them and who can no longer pray for themselves.

Nothing unclean can enter Heaven so most souls destined for Heaven likely undergo a process of purging. Catholics should pray for those Poor Souls in Purgatory, asking God to lovingly purify them of what might keep them apart from Him.

By asking God for his mercy, Catholics are capable of relieving the suffering of Poor Souls in Purgatory and helping them attain everlasting life in Heaven. This is done through prayers, spiritual support, and especially by offering Masses for them.

Praying for the dead is an important part of the Catholic faith all year long but in November, the month of All Souls, there is a special emphasis on remembering those who have died, and especially on All Souls Day, November 2.

Death is not the end:

Tweeting with GOD

Helping the Holy Souls in Purgatory:

Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg

Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out. The noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection in mind; for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead.

2 Maccabees 12: 42-44

Catholics are practically obliged to pray for the dead:

Warner D’Souza

God’s people have always prayed for the dead:

Saint Thomas Chickasaw

This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: “Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.” From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God. The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead: Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1032

We cannot be certain our loved ones are in Heaven:

Catholic Answers

Catholics pray for the dead with hope:


I therefore encourage Catholics to pray fervently for the dead, for their family members and for all our brothers and sisters who have died, that they may obtain the remission of the punishments due to their sins and may hear the Lord’s call: “Come, O my dear soul, to eternal repose in the arms of my goodness, which has prepared eternal delights for you.”

Pope John Paul II, Letter to the Abbot of Cluny, 2 June 1998

Pray for the dead at any time, in any way:

Good Catholic

There are many rituals to honor the dead during the month of All Souls:

Liturgy Training Publications

We turn our thoughts to things above, not things on earth: 

Catholic News Service

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

Catholicism is different:

Gopher Catholic

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