At every Mass, the Church prays for the living and the dead. Just because a person has died does not mean he is no longer part of the Church. And the Church always remembers the souls of the faithful departed. The body dies, but the soul lives forever. At the end of the world, the souls will be reunited with their bodies.
So why do we pray for the ‘faithful departed?’ Because if they are still in purgatory, they need our prayers. They can not pray for themselves, but we can pray for them and we can apply the grace and fruits of the Mass to their souls for their purification.
It is very helpful to pray for the dead by name. For that reason, the rubrics state: “For N. and N.” Who should we pray for? Family and friends who have died, and then especially for all those who have died anywhere or at anytime who have no one to pray for them.
Are you struggling to see the Mass as an intimate experience with the Lord, rather than simply an obligation to fulfill? Read Fr. Kubicki’s tips for experiencing mercy at Mass!