How You Can Assist the Holy Souls

November is the Month of the Holy Souls, a month we remember and pray for the faithful departed. During this month, especially, we beg the Lord to release their souls from Purgatory into the glory of Heaven. Though we might feel disconnected from our loved ones after they have died, our prayers and actions can greatly benefit the dead. Fr. Edward Looney, author and priest of the Diocese of Green Bay, explained how to observe the Month of the Holy Souls during an interview on Morning Air®.

Visit Cemeteries

The Month of the Holy Souls is an especially great time to visit your local parish cemetery or the cemeteries where your loved ones have been buried. Doing so may even earn an indulgence on behalf of a Holy Soul.

woman knees in prayer at cemetery“This devotion of visiting cemeteries, the indulgence is only applicable to the Holy Souls in Purgatory. And so the person who visits the cemeteries does it on behalf of someone else. Whether that’s your family member, maybe you name that person or maybe you just submit it to God’s mercy and say, ‘I’m doing this pious act, Almighty God, and the Church says you give an indulgence and I wish you to give the merits of what I’m doing to … whoever is in greatest need in Purgatory so that now they might have their home forever in Heaven,’” explained Fr. Looney.

How might you obtain the indulgence? According to the Enchiridion of Indulgences: “Visit a Cemetery. Only applicable to the souls in Purgatory when one devoutly visits and prays for the departed. A PLENARY INDULGENCE is bestowed for this work each day between November 1 and November 8.” As with all plenary indulgences, you must also receive Holy Communion, Sacramental Confession, and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father.

Praying for the Dead

Whether at a cemetery or at home, we can and should pray for the Holy Souls. A popular choice is the Eternal Rest prayer, though any prayer for the dead is great. We also remember that—whether they are in Heaven or Purgatory—they can pray for us.

“Susan Tassone always pointed out to me that when we pray for the Holy Souls, when we have masses offered for them sometimes we might say, ‘Well this person surely must be in Heaven, we’ve been praying for them for years.’ She always tells me, don’t relent; keep praying because there’s this increase of accidental glory. That the efficacy of their intercessory power in Heaven becomes even greater when we continue to pray for their souls. So no prayer that we offer for our dead, for our loved ones is ever lost or ever in vain,” said Fr. Looney.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

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Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.