November: a month to pray for our departed loved ones

It is during November that the Church meditates on the Communion of Saints, which is the charitable link with the faithful who have already reached heaven, the faithful departed who are still being purified from their sins in purgatory and of the pilgrim faithful here on earth. "In this wonderful exchange, the holiness of one profits others, well beyond the harm that the sin of one could cause others. Thus recourse to the communion of saints lets the contrite sinner be more promptly and efficaciously purified of the punishments for sin." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1475).

On November 1st the Church celebrates the Solemnity of All Saints, a holy day of obligation, honoring all those faithful in heaven. Throughout November the Church also remembers our faithful departed. The need and duty of prayer for the departed souls has been acknowledged by the Church at all times. It is recommended in the Scriptures of the Old Testament: “It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins” (2 Macc 12: 46). 

Throughout November the Church prays for all who are in purgatory, waiting for the day when they will join the company of the saints in heaven. The celebration of Mass is the highest means the Church can provide for charity for the dead, but we can also relieve their sufferings through our prayers, sufferings and penances. We can also help the souls in purgatory by doing acts and prayers that have indulgences attached to them. There are many indulgences, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, that can be obtained during the month of November.

Parish Prayer Service

There will be a special evening of prayer for all those who have died in the parish within the last year, which will take place at St Patrick’s Church, Dungannon on Sunday 23rd November, 2014 at 7:30pm.

Indulgenced Acts for the Souls in Purgatory 

A partial indulgence can be obtained by devoutly visiting a cemetery and praying for the departed, even if the prayer is only mental. One can gain a plenary indulgence visiting a cemetery each day between 1st November and 8th November. These indulgences are applicable only to the souls in purgatory.

A plenary indulgence, again applicable only the souls in purgatory, is also granted when the faithful piously visit a church or a public oratory on 2nd November. In visiting the church or oratory, it is required, that one Our Father and the Creed be recited.

All indulgences require the usual conditions of:

- receiving the sacrament of confession, either eight days before or after the pious act is performed,

- receiving Holy Communion on that day

- and reciting 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).