Remembering and Assisting the Holy Souls in Purgatory

Remembering and Assisting the Holy Souls in Purgatory

Remembering and Assisting the Holy Souls in Purgatory
By Br. Columba Thomas, O.P.

Br. Columba Thomas, O.P., first encountered the Dominicans in medical school and completed his medical training before joining the Order in 2016. His translation of the 15th century Ars Moriendi (The Art of Dying) can be found at As the Deacon of the Rosary Shrine of Saint Jude, Br. Columba looks forward to praying for your intentions over the coming year!

Nourished by the love of Christ, the souls in purgatory experience both joy and pain—joy, in the knowledge that God has shown them great mercy, and that one day they will be in heaven; and pain, because of the imperfections in their souls that displease Our Lord and hinder complete union with Him. These souls undergo purification in a mysterious fire, similar to earthly fire but more intense, for the length of time determined by His gracious will. We call them the “holy souls” because they are confirmed in grace, enjoy a relationship with God, and ardently long to see Him face-to-face.

Those of us on earth can do much to console the souls in purgatory, and to hasten their entrance into the eternal bliss of heaven. We ought to remember this especially for our deceased family members, united to us by flesh and blood as well as in the Body and Blood of Our Lord. It is a spiritual work of mercy to pray, fast, and give alms for these holy souls, the fruits of which are threefold: assistance to the holy souls, who cannot assist themselves; favor in the sight of God for our own salvation; and the eternal gratitude and intercession of the souls we assist into heaven. Once in heaven, those souls may intercede for us in turn, and perhaps shorten our own stay in purgatory.

Of the various ways we can assist the holy souls, nothing exceeds the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for them. The final wish of St. Monica to her son Augustine was to have Masses celebrated for the repose of her soul. In addition to Mass intentions, lay persons can offer up their holy communions for the deceased. Outside the Mass, we can aid the holy souls through various prayers commended by the Church—particularly, the Rosary and Novenas to Saint Jude and others—and all sacrifices and works of charity offered on their behalf.

Throughout the month of November, daily Masses will be offered for the dead at the Rosary Shrine of Saint Jude. Enroll your loved ones by clicking here.