Observing the Month of the Holy Souls

We kicked off this month with the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, more commonly known as All Souls Day, on November 2. But let’s not forget that the entire month of November is dedicated to remembering the Holy Souls.

Who are the Holy Souls? I’m so glad you asked. The Holy Souls are all those who have died and are in Purgatory, undergoing purification of their souls before they can be welcomed into the heavenly kingdom. Their souls have been saved but are not quite ready for eternal life with God.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church 1030 says: 

All who die in God’s grace, but are still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death, they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

If you are familiar with the terms Church Militant (the Church on earth) and the Church Triumphant (saints in heaven), these Holy Souls in Purgatory are the Church Suffering. And they need our prayers!

Though we should remember the Holy Souls all year, this month is a time to be especially attentive to their pleas. A simple way to start is by incorporating prayers for the Holy Souls into your day. Maybe you pray for them each morning when you wake up, before meals, or at bedtime. My family prays this simple prayer along with our meal prayers: May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Next, remember your family, friends, and loved ones who have died. Arrange to have Masses said for them. Offer Rosaries or other prayers on their behalf. If you haven’t already, join Relevant Radio in the Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory from November 2-10 and submit the names of your faithful departed so that we may also pray for them.

This month, make time to visit your family at the cemetery, especially if you haven’t been there in a while. When you visit, walk around and pray for each of the people whose graves you come across. You never know which souls may not be receiving the prayers they need from their family left on earth.

Speaking of souls in desperate need of our prayers, offer some prayers this month for not only the souls you knew here on earth, but for those who are in most need of our prayers. Those souls who have been forgotten or whose family and friends have neglected to pray for them. 

Venerable Fulton Sheen once said, “As we enter heaven, we will see them, so many of them coming towards us and thanking us. We will ask who they are, and they will say a poor soul you prayed for in purgatory.”

And finally, while you are remembering the dead this month, do not forget your own death. Reflect on the reality that your life will end, and you know not the day nor the hour. As Catholics, we strive to be so detached from the things of this world that we truly look forward (without fear) to the eternal life that is to come. Make a good (frequent) Confession, detach from sin, and prepare your soul for life that never ends.

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.