November is our traditional month of prayer for those who have died. Through prayer and gaining indulgences, you can help the departed wrap up their time in Purgatory and enter heavenly life.

Those who die and are bound for heaven often leave this world with a debt – we call it the “temporal punishment due to sin.” Each of our sins causes damage to all of creation, knocking it slightly “out of whack” from God’s plan. This damage needs to be repaired before a person can enter heaven because there is no room in heaven for sin or any effects of sin. The place where this damage is repaired we call “Purgatory.”

The message I received as a child was that Purgatory is “diet hell” – it’s suffering, but it’s not forever. Nothing could be farther from the truth! The souls in Purgatory are guaranteed a spot in heaven. If they suffer it is because of the joy of knowing they will go to heaven combined with the disappointment of not being there yet. You and I can help by praying for them and gaining indulgences.

An “indulgence” is a form of spiritual medicine that helps repair the spiritual damage caused by sin. We gain indulgences by saying prayers, performing works of piety, and doing good works. The souls in Purgatory cannot free themselves from their state; you and I must help them through gaining indulgences.

Each time you drive past a cemetery this month, say a quick prayer for the dead. Here’s a classic one that you can memorize and teach your kids: “Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.”

Fr. Ryan
























































































































































































































































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