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November Dedicated to the Poor Souls


Our Lady of the Rosary Library


November, the month dedicated to the Poor Souls
The Feast of All Saints

The Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed
[November 2]
From “The Saint Andrew Daily Missal” (1937)

The feast of All Saints is intimately connected with the remembrance
of the holy souls who, detained in purgatory to expiate their venial
sins or to pay the temporal pains due to sin, are none the less
confirmed in grace and will one day enter heaven. Therefore, after
having joyfully celebrated the glory of the saints who are the Church
triumphant in heaven, the Church on earth extends her maternal
solicitude to the place of unspeakable torments, the abode of souls
who equally belong to her.

“On this day,” says the Roman Martyrology, “commemoration of all the
faithful departed, in which our common and pious Mother the Church,
immediately after having endeavoured to celebrate by worthy praise
all her children who already rejoice in heaven, strives to aid by her
powerful intercession with Christ her Lord and Spouse, all those who
still groan in Purgatory, so that they may join as soon as possible
the inhabitants of the heavenly city.”

Nowhere in the Liturgy is more vividly affirmed the mysterious unity
which exists between the Church triumphant, the Church militant and
the Church suffering, and never is better fulfilled the double duty
of charity and justice incumbent on every Christian by virtue of his
membership of the mystical body of Christ.

It is through the very consoling dogma of the Communion of Saints
that the merits and suffrages of the saints may benefit others.
Whereby without infringing the indefeasible rights of divine justice,
which are exercised in their full vigour after this life, the Church
can join her prayers here on earth to those of the Church in heaven
and supply what is wanting in the souls in Purgatory, by offering to
God for them, by the Holy Mass, by indulgences, by the alms and
sacrifices of her children, the superabundant merits of Christ’s
passion and of His mystical members. Wherefore the Liturgy, the
centre of which is the sacrifice of Calvary continued on the altar,
has always used this pre-eminent means of exercising in favour of the
departed the great law of charity ; for it is a precept of charity to
relieve our neighbour’s wants as if they were our own, in virtue of
the supernatural bond which unites in Jesus those in heaven, in
purgatory and on the earth.

The Liturgy of the dead is perhaps the most beautiful and consoling
of all. Every day, at the end of each hour of the divine office, we
recommend to the divine mercy the souls of the faithful departed. In
the Mass, at the Suscipe, the priest offers the sacrifice for the
living and the dead and in a special Memento he implores the Lord to
remember His servants who have fallen asleep in Christ and to grant
them to dwell in consolation, light and peace.

Masses for the dead are already recorded in the fifth century. But to
St. Odilo, fourth abbot of the famous Benedictine monastery of Cluny,
is due the Commemoration of all the departed. He instituted it in 998
and prescribed that it should be celebrated the day following All
Saints’ Day. Through the influence of this illustrious French
congregation, the custom was soon adopted by the whole Christian
world and it even sometimes became a day of obligation. In Spain,
Portugal and the formerly Spanish parts of South America, priests, in
virtue of a privilege granted by Benedict XIV, celebrated three Masses
on November 2. A decree of Benedict XV, dated August 10, 1915,
authorizes the priests of the whole world to do the same.

The Church reminds us in an Epistle, taken from St. Paul, that the
dead will rise again, and tells us to hope, for on that day we shall
all see one another in the Lord. The Sequence strikingly describes
the last judgment when the good will be for ever separated from the

The Offertory reminds us that it is St. Michael who introduces souls
into heaven, for as the prayers for the recommendation of the soul
say, it is he who is “the chief of the heavenly host” in whose ranks
men are called to fill the places of the fallen angels.

“The souls in purgatory,” declares the Council of Trent, “are helped
by the suffrages of the faithful, especially by the sacrifice of the
Altar.” The reason is that in Holy Mass the priest offers officially
to God the ransom for souls, that is the blood of the Saviour. And
Jesus Himself, under the elements of bread and wine, which recall to
the Father the sacrifice of Golgotha, prays God to apply to these
souls its atoning virtue.

Let us, on this day, be present at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
when the Church implores God to grant to the faithful departed, who
can now do nothing for themselves, the remission of all their sins
(Collect) and eternal rest (Introit, Gradual, Communion), and let us
visit the cemeteries where their bodies repose until the day when, in
the twinkling of an eye, at the sound of the last trumpet, they will
rise again to be clothed in immortality and gain through Jesus Christ
the victory over death (Epistle).


Visit our Store (
) for all the prayers and devotions we offer (listed below) to help
the Poor Souls in Purgatory.

– Litany for the Poor Souls in Purgatory
– Pious Invocations for the Souls in Purgatory
– Prayer of St. Gertrude the Great
– Purgatory Explained by the Lives and Legends of the Saints

Sincerely in Christ,
Our Lady of the Rosary Library
“Pray and work for souls”

For good Catholic books, articles and religious goods visit

73,   KF7DWB – Tacoma – Seattle, WA.

73,   KF7DWB – Tacoma – Seattle, WA.



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