“Brethren: We will not have you ignorant concerning them that are asleep, that you be not sorrowful, even as others who have no hope; for if we believe that Jesus died and rose again,even so them who have slept through Jesus, will God bring with Him.” (1 Thess. 4:13-18)
Dear Friend in Christ,
Reading St. Paul’s words above, which constitute the beginning of the Epistle reading at every traditional Requiem Mass, it’s almost impossible not to feel a certain sense of irony.
Paul beseeches us to feel hopeful, rather than wallow in sorrow, at the death of a loved one. But in today’s world, too many people are filled with a false hope—in fact, a sort of overconfidence—about the destination of souls after death.
Even more sadly, it has become all too common to attend Catholic funerals at which we hear that the departed was “called home” and is now enjoying eternal bliss—with not even a passing reminder that this person may very well be in Purgatory, in urgent need of our prayers.
By contrast, Paul’s words give us the only sure hope: the hope that flows from the Passion of Our Lord. During His suffering and death, Jesus earned eternal merits that will apply to His faithful not only during our earthly lives, but when we finally “sleep” in Him.
This November, then, let us redouble our efforts to assist the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Here’s what we can do.
Let’s Work Together to Free Holy Souls from Purgatory
Each soul in Purgatory once lived much as you and I do—striving for holiness in an often-unholy world. Each soul in Purgatory now depends on us to earn merits for them because they can no longer do it for themselves.
From November 1 through November 8, Holy Mother Church makes it possible to earn a plenary indulgence each day for a soul in Purgatory. This indulgence is available to all those who visit a cemetery to pray for the faithful departed, and who fulfill the usual conditions.
We hope that you, like our seminarians, will make daily visits to your local cemetery. Please also strive to meet the following conditions:
- Receive Communion daily
- Pray for the Pope’s intentions daily
- Make a good Confession that week
- Remain free from attachment to sin
Given our fallen nature, the fourth condition is often the most challenging one to meet. Please rest assured that when any Catholic in a state of grace strives for a plenary indulgence but falls short, Our Lord will graciously grant a partial indulgence—which could still help free a soul from Purgatory!
Do Something More for Your Departed Loved Ones
We can and should pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory every day. But during the first week of November, Holy Mother Church makes it possible to earn a plenary indulgence each day for a soul in Purgatory. As you may recall, a plenary indulgence removes all of the temporal punishment due as a result of a person’s sins.
From November 1 through November 8, the Church offers a plenary indulgence each day for all those who visit a cemetery to pray for the faithful departed. So, if you pray at a cemetery daily, receive Communion daily, pray for the Pope’s intentions daily, make a good Confession that week, and are free from attachment to sin, you could rescue eight souls this November!
Help Your Loved Ones Get Out of Purgatory
We can’t know for sure how many Holy Souls are in Purgatory, but it’s reasonable to think that they number in the millions. What more can we do besides pray at the cemetery in November?
The priests at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary will offer a Novena of Masses for the deceased from November 2 through November 10, 2020. Please fill out the online form with the names of your deceased loved ones to be remembered in this Novena of Masses. Our priests and seminarians will continue to pray for your loved ones each day throughout November.
Help Us Form Traditional Priests to Free the Holy Souls!
When November arrives and you are working hard to free souls from Purgatory, know that our priests will be working hard, too. After all, you can’t meet the conditions for a plenary indulgence without having a priest available to hear your confession and celebrate Mass.
The first week in November, then, is a busy time for us, but joyfully so! In fact, the only burden we feel comes from the realization that for every apostolate we establish in North America, there are many more cities where Catholics still lack a full traditional parish life.
This means, then, that we must not waver in our efforts to form and send out faithful, holy priests who are shaped by the traditions of the Church, guided by the sound teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas, and protected under the mantle of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
To do so, we will need your help!
As another impressive class of first-year seminarians settles in at our seminary, we face the challenge of providing a formation that costs $30,000 per year. Because these men have left all behind to follow Our Lord, they rely on your generosity to continue on the path to the holy priesthood.
As you return your reply card with your prayer intentions, please consider enclosing a gift to contribute to the formation of the next generation of faithful, well-formed priests.
Thank you for your charity towards the Holy Souls—and your support of the Fraternity. May God reward you richly for your faithfulness.
Fr. Michael Stinson, FSSP
North American Superior