“It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from their sins.” (2 Machabees 12:46)
Who is in more urgent need of our charity than the souls in Purgatory? What hunger, or thirst, or dire sufferings on Earth can compare to their dreadful torments? Neither the poor, nor the sick, nor the suffering, we see around us, have such an urgent need of our help. Yet we find many good-hearted people who interest themselves in every other type of suffering, but alas! scarcely one who works for the Holy Souls. When they are finally released from their pains and enjoy the beatitude of Heaven, far from forgetting their friends on earth, their gratitude knows no bounds. Prostrate before the Throne of God, they never cease to pray for those who helped them. By their prayers they shield their friends from many dangers and protect them from the evils that threaten them.
HAVING MASSES SAID FOR THE HOLY SOULS IS THE MOST POWERFUL TOOL THE CHURCH MILITANT HAS IN FREEING THEM
Blessed Souls, I have prayed for Thee;I entreat Thee, who are so dear to God,and who are secure of never losing Him,to pray for me a miserable sinner,who is in danger of being damned,and of losing God forever. Amen.
A SOUL IN PURGATORY BEGS FOR MASSES
Blessed Henry Suso, of the Dominican Order, made a compact with a fellow religious to the effect that, when one of the two died, the survivor would offer two Masses each week for his soul, and other prayers as well. It so fell out that his companion died first, and Blessed Henry commenced immediately to offer the promised Masses. These he continued to say for a long time. At last, quite sure that the soul of his saintly friend had reached Heaven, he ceased offering the Masses. Great was his sorrow and consternation when the soul of the dead brother appeared to him suffering intensely and chiding him for not celebrating the promised Masses. Blessed Henry replied with deep regret that he had not continued the Masses, believing that his friend must be enjoying the Beatific Vision but he added that he had ever remembered him in prayer. “O dear Brother Henry, please give me the Masses, for it is the Precious Blood of Jesus that I most need!” cried out the suffering soul. Blessed Henry began anew and, with redoubled fervor, offered Masses and prayers for his friend until he received absolute certitude of his delivery. Then it was his turn to receive graces and blessings of all kinds from the dear brother he had relieved, and very many times more than he could have expected.
St. Gertrude – Prayer to Free 1,000 Souls from Purgatory
St. Gertrude the Great is invoked for souls in purgatory and for living sinners. Our Lord told St. Gertrude that the following prayer would release 1,000 souls from Purgatory each time it is said. The prayer was extended to include living sinners as well.
Eternal Father, I offer Thee 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, those in my own home and within my family.
Prayer To The Sacred Heart Of Jesus For The Holy Souls In Purgatory & The Holy Church
O Divine Heart of Jesus, grant I pray to Thee, eternal rest to the Souls in Purgatory, the final grace to those who are about to die this day, true repentance to sinners, the light of faith to pagans, and Thy blessing to me and to all who are dear to me.
To Thee, therefore, O Most Merciful Heart of Jesus, I commend all these souls, and in their behalf I offer unto Thee all Thy merits in union with the merits of Thy Most Blessed Mother and of all the Angels and Saints, together with all the Masses, Communions, prayers and good works which are this day being offered throughout
O Most Holy Heart of Jesus, shower Thy blessings in abundant measure upon the Thy Holy Church; to the just grant perseverance; convert sinners; enlighten unbelievers; bless our relations, friends and benefactors; assist the dying; deliver the Holy Souls in Purgatory; and extend over all hearts the sweet empire of Thy love.
Seven Days of Prayer for the Holy Souls in Purgatory
My Jesus, by the sorrow You suffered in Your agony in the Garden, in Your scourging and crowing with thorns, in Your journey to Calvary, in Your crucifixion and death, have mercy on the souls in purgatory, and especially on those that are most forsaken; deliver them from the torments they endure; call them and admit them to Your most sweet embrace in paradise, where You live with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Hail Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.
Merciful Father, hear our prayers and console us. As we renew our faith in Your Son, whom You raised from the dead, strengthen our hope that all our departed brothers and sisters will share in His resurrection, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
O Lord God omnipotent, I beseech You by the Precious Blood, which Your divine Son Jesus shed in the Garden, deliver the souls in purgatory, and especially that one which is the most forsaken of all, and bring it into Your glory, where it may praise and bless You for ever. Amen.
O Lord God omnipotent, I beseech You by the Precious Blood, which Your divine Son Jesus shed in His cruel scourging, deliver the souls in purgatory, and among them all, especially that soul which is nearest to its entrance into Your glory, that it may soon begin to praise You and bless You for ever. Amen.
O Lord God omnipotent, I beseech You by the Precious Blood, which Your divine Son Jesus shed in His bitter crowning with thorns, deliver the souls in purgatory, and among them all, particularly that soul which is in the greatest need of our prayers, in order that it may not long be delayed in praising You and Your glory and blessing You for ever. Amen.
O Lord God omnipotent, I beseech You by the Precious Blood, which Your divine Son Jesus shed in the streets of Jerusalem while He carried on His sacred shoulders the heavy burden of the Cross, deliver the souls in purgatory and especially that one which is the richest in merits in Your sight, so that, having soon attained the high price in glory to which it is destined, it may praise You triumphantly and bless You forever. Amen.
O Lord God omnipotent, I beseech You by the Precious Body and Blood, Your divine Son Jesus, which He Himself on the night before His Passion gave as meat and drink to His beloved Apostles and bequeathed to His Holy Church to be the perpetual Sacrifice and life-giving nourishment of His faithful people, deliver the souls in purgatory, but most of all, that soul which was most devoted to this Mystery of infinite love, in order that it may praise You therefore, together with Your divine Son and the Holy Spirit in Your glory for ever. Amen.
O Lord God omnipotent, I beseech You by the Precious Blood, which Jesus Your divine Son did shed this day upon the tree of the Cross, especially from His sacred Hands and Feet, deliver the souls in purgatory, and particularly that soul for whom I am most bound to pray, in order that I may not be the cause which hinders You from admitting it quickly to the possession of Your glory where it may praise You and bless You for evermore. Amen.
O Lord God omnipotent, I beseech You by the Precious Blood, which gushed forth from the sacred Side of Your divine Son Jesus in the presence and to the great sorrow of His most holy Mother, deliver the souls in purgatory and among them all especially that soul which has been most devout to this noble Lady, that it may come quickly into Your glory, there to praise You in her, and her in You through all ages. Amen.
20 WAYS TO PRAY FOR THE HOLY SOULS IN PURGATORY
1. Pray the Novena to the Holy Souls.
2. Offer up your Holy Communions for the souls in purgatory.
3. Have Masses said for your departed loved ones, especially on the anniversary of his or her death.
4. Pray The Way Of The Cross for Souls in Purgatory.
5. Pray the special Holy Souls Rosary. After the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Holy Rosary is the most powerful prayer.
6. Obtain indulgences: Indulgences reduce or cancel the temporal punishment that we incur through sin.* There are many ways to obtain indulgences through pious actions, and we can apply their merits to the dead.
If you visit a church or oratory on All Souls Day and there recite the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostle’s Creed, you can earn a plenary (full) indulgence applicable only to the souls in purgatory (under the usual conditions).*
7. Give alms: The giving of material assistance to the poor has always been considered a penance that can be offered for the Holy Souls. “For almsgiving saves from death and purges away every sin” (Tobit 12:9).
8. Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet for the intention of the Holy Souls.
9. Prayer of St. Gertrude for the Holy Souls: this prayer is attributed to St. Gertrude the Great and was the prayer by which she obtained the release of many souls from purgatory.
10. Sprinkle holy water on the ground: St. John Macias, a great friend of those in purgatory, would often sprinkle holy water on the ground for the spiritual benefit of the suffering souls.
11. When passing by a cemetery, pray the short Eternal Rest prayer. This prayer carries a partial indulgence applicable to the poor souls:
“Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord. And let the perpetual light shine upon them. And may the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.”
12. Practice the tradition of praying the Eternal Rest prayer (above) before and after your meals as an easy way to remember to pray for the holy souls every day. You can also pray the prayer between the decades of your daily rosary.
13. Visit a cemetery: Pray over the graves of your departed loved ones, or visit a random graveyard and pray for those who may have no one to pray for them. Simply doing this gains a partial indulgence for those in purgatory.* While you’re there, sprinkle holy water on the graves. If you make this visit during the first eight days of the month dedicated to the Holy Souls (November 1-8) you can gain a plenary indulgence applicable to the souls in purgatory.
14. Eucharistic Adoration: visit the Blessed Sacrament to make acts of reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on behalf of those in purgatory.
15. Sacrifices: practice small acts of self-denial throughout your day and offer these penances up for the poor souls.
16. Pray the Office of the Dead. You can find this in your volume of the Liturgy of the Hours or online here.
17. Ask for the intercession of saints who were known to be great friends of the Holy Souls during their lifetime to join you in prayer for the faithful departed: St. Nicholas of Tolentino, St. Gertrude the Great, St. Catherine of Genoa, St. Padre Pio, St. Philip Neri, St. John Macías, St. Faustina Kowalska, St. Joseph, Our Lady, and others.
18. Special prayers: Throughout your day, offer up short and spontaneous prayers (ejaculatory prayers) for the holy souls. Consider buying purgatory books with more prayers and special devotions for the Holy Souls.
19. Repent of your offenses against God and go to confession: Confessing your own sins makes your prayers for souls of others more effective.
20. Spread devotion to the Holy Souls: Make others aware of the great need these suffering souls have for our prayers.