Praying for the Dead
the Pastor's Desk (2003)
Belief in life after death predates Christianity in Ireland.
The ghostly practices of Halloween stem from the belief that
the veil between the living and the dead was at its thinnest
at this time of the year. There is a danger in these times of
commercialised emphasis that the pagan practices of Halloween
will dull our awareness of the Christian teaching and practice
that sets this month aside as one of special devotion to those
who "have gone before us with the sign of faith".
Christ gave us a whole new understanding of where this life
leads to. The doctrine of the Communion of Saints tells us that
our dear departed are indeed close to us and that we can help
one another - we can pray for them and they for us.
Many have a great devotion to the Holy Souls. During the first
8 days of the month the Church places in our hands the means
of bringing help to them by taking part in the Novena of Masses
and by gaining the indulgences that can hasten their journey
to heaven, should they still be in the process of purification,
that is known as Purgatory. This is an essential part of our
Catholic Faith. By making available the indulgences the Church
is drawing form the treasury of graces and merits won by the
The conditions laid down are meant to help us distance ourselves
from sin and draw closer to Christ, and thus make our prayer
Many of those we now pray for set the example for us and we
look forward to being helped by those whom we now encourage
to remember those who go on before us on the journey to our
Could you DO something for November?
When a mother died her son made a New Year resolution. A good
mother, he would do it for her. He gave up smoking for the year.
He has not smoked since! Could you do something for your loved
ones - maybe just for the month? Morning Mass? Daily visit a
Church? Prayer Life - and for the Dead? Stations of the Cross?
Charitable Work? Visit an Old or Sick Person? Give Charity?
of All Saints All Souls
for the Dead
.1. From 12 Noon on 1 Nov. until midnight on
2 Nov. all who have confessed, received Holy Communion and prayed
for the Pope's intentions (one Our Father and Hail Mary, or
any other prayer of one's choice) can gain one plenary indulgence
by visiting a church or oratory and there reciting one Our Father
and the Apostles Creed.
This indulgence is applicable only to the Holy Souls.
Confession may be made any time within the week preceeding
or following 1 Nov. Holy Communion may be received on any day
from 1 to 8 Nov.
2. The Faithful who visit a cemetery and pray for the
dead may gain a plenary indulgenge for the Holy Souls on the
usual conditions, once per day from 1 to 8 Nov. The above conditions