November, the Month of the Holy Souls

Published on October 24, 2023

It is appropriate that the Catholic Church sets aside November which begins with All Saints Day and All Souls Day, as the Month of the Holy Souls in Purgatory – those who died in grace but who failed in this life to make satisfaction for all their sins. The Roman Catholic teaching on purgatory reflects its understanding of the communion of saints. We are connected to the saints in heaven, the saints-in-waiting in purgatory and other believers here on earth.
In November we are encouraged to pray for those who have gone before us, family and friends, which is natural enough. However it does not end there for we are asked also to pray for those who may have no one to pray for them. In this way we are joined to others in the Christian family and reminded that we are a wide community united in our belief in Jesus and his Resurrection. Those in purgatory cannot pray for themselves but one day they may be able to pray for us when we are in the same position. Perhaps this is why Pope St John XXIII wrote the following words “The devotion to the memory of the dead is one of the most beautiful expressions of the Catholic spirit.” Please use the forms provided in the church to list the names of departed family and friends to be prayed for by the parish community in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.