In the Catholic Church the month of November is dedicated to the Poor Souls in Purgatory. These almost-saints are on there way to heaven but need a little more purification before they can receive the beautific vision and be in the presence of God. They are helpless, in that, they can not even pray for themselves or others, but we have the ability and privilege to come to their aid. We can pray for these often forgotten souls and our prayers can help them be released from purgatory sooner!
The month of November is a wonderful time to begin the family devotion of remembering the Poor Souls in Purgatory throughout the day. Starting in November provides the opportunity for this practice to be easily continued into the new liturgical year during Advent. Traditionally, a bell would be rung as a reminder to pray for the Poor Souls an hour after the noon Angelus Bell. This practice can be revived in your domestic monastery by simply setting a daily alarm on your cell phone. Many of them come standard with a bell chime ringtone too. Another option for working these prayers into your family’s liturgy of life is to tack the prayers onto the end of the blessing before a particular meal each day. It is also a pious custom to pray for these faithfully departed when driving past a cemetery.
November also has two opportunities to offer a plenary indulgence for a Poor Soul. First if you visit a church on the Feast of All Souls and say the Our Father and Apostles Creed and second if you go pray at a cemetery any day during November 1st through 8th, with the usual requirements.
The following are the two Poor Souls prayers we use most often:
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
St. Gertrude’s Prayer for the Holy Souls
(1000 souls released at every pious recitation)
Eternal Father, I offer You the most precious blood of thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, for those in my own home, and in my family. Amen.