The Church’s calendar for November begins with two major feast days, the Feast of All Saints on November 1st, followed by the Commemoration of All Souls on November 2nd. These two feasts which begin this month direct our minds and hearts to our ultimate end – life with God and help us to consider our eternal destination and the reality of death and of what have traditionally been considered the last four things: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. In the midst of our consideration of those things the Church recommends that we also turn our minds towards the reality of Purgatory and to pray, in a particular way, for those who have died and are being purified in preparation for seeing God in the Beatific Vision. However, it is not only in November that we are asked to pray for those who have died and are being purified in purgatory, but it is also a pious practice we should maintain all year long.
In the interest of encouraging parishioners of St. Mary’s to pray for the dead regularly, we are beginning the St. Mary’s Visitation Purgatory Society to help encourage those prayers and to keep them in the forefront of our mind throughout the entire year. The Purgatory Society requires no sign-ups, no informational meetings, no registrations; one can join simply by committing oneself to praying over the course of the year for those who have died and, in particular, remembering them in prayer at Mass. To this end, the 6:30am Mass on First Fridays will have the Mass Intention of the Poor Souls in Purgatory. In addition, every month a different intention for the dead will be published in the bulletin to guide our prayers. For instance, in December, we will pray in particular for all deceased grandparents, especially with the intercession of Ss. Joachim and Anne, the parents of the Blessed Mother.
As I said, this will require no forms to fill out or pledge to take, simply keep in mind that prayer intention over the month. In next weekend’s bulletin, I will write a bit more about Purgatory and what the Church teaches regarding it. However, as this week we begin November, it seems fitting to place here the Purgatory Society Prayer Intention for November: For all those Parishioners of St. Mary’s who have died over the course of this year, that, with the intercession of all the Saints, God will carry them through their period of purification and welcome them to His heavenly kingdom. Eternal rest, grant unto them O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.