The Catholic Church encourages us to pray for the departed, especially for the holy souls in purgatory. November starts with All Saints' Day, November 1st, followed by All Souls' Day. Our prayers can help the souls purify and ease their suffering in the hope that they fully join God's love. Pope Benedict XVI reminded us why praying for the souls in purgatory is so important: "Christian hope is never just individual, it is always about others. Our lives are closely tied, and anything good or bad that one does always affects the others. Therefore one soul praying on a pilgrimage in this world can help another one, purifying itself after death."
It is not easy to understand what awaits after death - heaven, hell, purgatory. Where are those who had already left us? Can we stay in touch with them through prayer? Well, we can not fully understand everything right away. However, thanks to scripture and saints' testimonies, we can better understand the souls' journey.
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Purgatory is a place of preparation - and purification - before fully joining the beauty of heaven, God's acceptance and love. Faith, charity and hope should motivate us to pray for those who, after death, continue their pilgrimage towards God. By praying for the souls who turned towards God but still struggle to accept his infinite love, we help them complete their journey to full communion.
Our prayer communities offer to pray together, occasionally or regularly, for the souls in purgatory.
Another way to pray for the departed is to recite a novena. In this way, you can accompany those in purgatory for nine days. Then, you can connect with them through meditations and prayers and walk together towards the space we can all share for eternity in place of God's infinite love.