November is the month in which we traditionally remember our beloved deceased—the Holy Souls. We should be aware that the Catholic Church continually encourages prayer for the dead, especially by remembering our deceased at the Eucharistic Sacrifice (Mass).
According to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal:
(#379) The Church offers the Eucharistic Sacrifice of Christ’s Passover for the dead so that, since all the members of Christ’s body are in communion with each other, the petition for spiritual help on behalf of some may bring comforting hope to others.
Pope John Paul II wrote the following in A LETTER FOR THE CELEBRATION OF THE MILLENNIUM OF THE COMMEMORATION OF ALL THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED (1998):
(#6) During the Eucharist, through the general intercessions and the Memento for the dead, the assembled community presents to the Father of all mercies those who have died, so that through the trial of purgatory they will be purified, if necessary, and attain eternal joy. In entrusting them to the Lord, we recognize our solidarity with them and share in their salvation in this wondrous mystery of the communion of saints. The Church believes that the souls detained in purgatory “are helped by the prayers of the faithful and most of all by the acceptable sacrifice of the altar” (Council of Trent, Decree on Purgatory), as well as by “alms and other works of piety” (Eugene IV, Bull Laetantur coeli).
(#7) I, therefore, encourage Catholics to pray fervently for the dead, for their family members and for all our brothers and sisters who have died, that they may obtain the remission of the punishments due to their sins and may hear the Lord’s call: “Come, O my dear soul, to eternal repose in the arms of my goodness, which has prepared eternal delights for you” (Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life, 17, 4).
Our parish community remembered individually by name those parishioners who died this past year, and prayed for all of our deceased members at the evening Mass on All Souls Day. It was a special time for so many family members and friends who were comforted and encouraged during a difficult time of loss in their lives.
I encourage you to pray, to request that a Mass be offered and to take the time to visit a cemetery as a way to pray for your beloved deceased.
Fr. Ed Namiotka