Sunday, November 1, 2009

Devotions and Ideas for the Feast of All Souls

(And Throughout November)

* Attend Mass on All Souls Day if you possibly can!  It's a rare privilege for priests to offer three Masses on the Feast of All Souls.  There is no greater intention than to relieve the suffering of the departed and speed their paths to Heaven, and no better way to do it than assisting at holy Mass.  The Holy Souls, in turn, will pray for us.  (If we can get down our driveway in the morning, we'll be there...)

* Visit cemeteries to pray for the dead during the month of November, but especially during this first week... We like to try and visit as many cemeteries as we can and are always looking for new ones.  We turn these outings into nature walks and history lessons whenever we can.  Many of the larger, older cemeteries have self-guided walking tours, and many are arboretums.

To receive a plenary indulgence for the souls in Purgatory: While visiting a cemetery during the Octave of the Feast of the Holy Souls, after a pious Confession and Holy Communion, pray for the intentions of the Church, and offer prayers (silently or out loud) for the dearly departed. A traditional prayer for this occasion is the beautiful de Profundis, or St. Gertrude's prayer (below). Some pray six Our Fathers, six Hail Marys and six Glory Be s. There is not a set of prescribed prayers for the dead that is necessary, so it's really up to you. You may gain this plenary indulgence once each day during this octave!

* Pray! Our Lord promised St. Gertrude the following prayer, said devoutly, would free 1,000 souls from purgatory.

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. Amen.

 Another Good Prayer:

O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful: grant to the souls of Thy servants and handmaidens the remission of all their sins: that through pious supplications, they may obtain the pardon which they have always desired: Who livest and reignest...

Many More Here.

* Read the online edition of Devotion for the Dying [and the Holy Souls in Purgatory]

By Ven. Mother Mary Potter

 Or, get ahold of Thirty Days for the Holy Souls: Stories About Purgatory to read throughout the month.
* Do what you can to impress upon our children the importance of devotion to the Holy Souls. Customs and readings for All Souls Day can be found here,  and, as always, Catholic Cuisine is a treasure trove of recipes and ideas for the day1

* Learn about other cultures' celebration of the feast.  Some information and ideas for traditions of  "Dia de los Muertos," the Latino Catholic version of the day which dovetails appropriately in many cases with the Feast of All Souls, can be found here.

* Catholic Heritage Curricula's A Year With God has a wonderful idea for remembering the Holy Souls. On a calendar constructed by the children, we will paste a construction paper tombstone drawn for each day,  naming a particular soul we will remember for each day of the month.  I'll try to get pictures posted after we finish this project. Visual reminders are the best -- and we have more and more souls to remember as the years go by...

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