November: Month of the Holy Souls…

Launched to mark the Feast of All Souls Day, 2nd November,  this thread is to allow us to share our favourite prayers, novenas and hymns for the benefit of the Holy Souls.  Praying for the dead is a tradition firmly rooted in Sacred Scripture:  “It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.” (2 Machabees 12:46)

Feel free too, to ask questions and offer comments on any related issues – for example, Purgatory. 

35 responses

  1. Yet again, folks, I tried and tried to find a video of the lovely November hymn: They are waiting for our petitions…” but without success.

    If anyone else can locate it, preferably the same tune with which I grew up, that would be much appreciated.

    In the meantime, let’s remember all our relatives and friends who have gone before us… R.I.P.

    • Editor,

      Maybe it’s time for another Catholic Truth version of that lovely hymn?

      One thing that has always confused me is a line from that hymn:

      “Their lips no prayer can utter, no suppliant psalm”

      However, our priest said that the souls in Purgatory can pray for us. Is it that they can pray for us but not for themselves?

      • Petrus,

        That is it. The Holy Souls can help us, but they cannot help themselves. That’s why it’s important to pray for them.

        It would be good to do a Catholic Truth version of the hymn but our singer is hard to pin down these days, now that she’s at university in some far flung place. Still, I’ll add it to our list of things to do…

  2. I’m confused about a notice our Prior put in the bulletin, about the requirements for obtaining a Plenary Indulgence for the Poor Souls. #4 of 6 is: “Holy Communion must be received each time the indulgence is sought.” Does this mean I must receive every day from Nov. 1 – 8? I don’t recall seeing that requirement before.

    • RCA Victor,

      Is this some kind of special prayer – I see it’s 8 not 9 days so not a novena. At a guess I’d say he means every time to begin that prayer-cycle afresh, not every day. Just a guess.

      • Editor,

        Sorry, I should have posted the whole notice:

        PLENARY INDULGENCE FOR THE POOR SOULS. From November 1-8th inclusive a Plenary Indulgence applicable only to the Poor Souls may be gained to those who visit a cemetery and pray (even if only mentally) for the Poor Souls. Conditions for this indulgence are as follows: 1) Only one Plenary indulgence can be granted per day. 2) It is necessary to be in the state of grace, at least by the completion of the work. 3) Freedom from any attachment to sin, even venial sin. 4) Holy Communion must be received each time the indulgence is sought. 5) Prayers for the Holy Father must be said on each day the indulgence is sought (an Our Father and Hail Mary suffice). 6) A sacramental Confession must be made within 8 days of the prescribed work.

  3. When the evening shadows lengthen,
    and the busy world is hushed,
    and the fever of life is over
    and our work is done,
    then in your mercy dearest Jesus
    grant us a safe lodging,
    a holy refuge,
    and your peace at the last. Amen

    Resquiescant in pace

    • That is a beautiful prayer written by Cardinal Newman. It is on the back of my grandmother’s memorial card. I remember that when she was dying her younger sister (since gone to her own eternal reward, RIP) used to say it by her bedside. She died when I was 17.

      • In the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, we have it as part of Vespers (Psalms 103, 140, 141, 129 – De profundus as per the Latin term – and Psalm 116 – which is used in the Latin Church at Benediction).

  4. I hawked out an old missal I have and read all the vespers for the dead for today. It took me a while to get my pretty head around it. Not being in TLM land I have decided to read the Mass every day. Excuse my N.O. ignorance but, does “Feria” mean the Mass of the previous Sunday or what as tomorrow doesn’t have a designated saint’s Mass, that I can see?

    • Crofterlady,

      Yes. When it says “Feria” that means there is no Feast to celebrate, so the epistle/Gospel etc are taken from the previous Sunday.

    • That is right Crofterlady – I used to wonder the same thing.

      Feria means “free day” which indicates (as Editor says) that there is no feast to celebrate and so the previous Sunday mass is repeated.

        • But who gave the best answer? On a scale of 1 (being lowest) to 10…

          Gabriel Syme (recommended answer = 4)

          Editor (recommended answer = 9)

          • Editor,

            And here I thought “feria” was from the Irish Boatman’s Hymn:

            BARK that bear me through foam and squall,
            You in the storm are my castle wall:
            Though the sea should redden from bottom to top,
            From tiller to mast she takes no drop;
            On the tide-top, the tide-top,
            Wherry aroon, my land and store!
            So hop aboard, me lasses and laddies,
            And I’ll feria straight across!

  5. I found this when I Googled prayers for the Holy Souls. It’s a bit mushy for my liking but I thought it might be helpful to someone.

    • Michaela,

      Yes, a tad “mushy” as you say. Which was a bit surprising since all the images of the Mass are of the traditional Mass. I was interested in your video/prayer because my mother’s name was Elizabeth Gertrude, so the Prayer of St Gertrude caught my attention. Thank you for that.

  6. It’s worth pointing out, in relation to the Francis/Lutheran thread, that Martin Luther rejected the doctrine on Purgatory. So, no prayers for the poor suffering souls from Lutherans, then.

    One of the most consoling apsects of the doctrine on Purgatory is that while the souls there suffer greatly, they do so with immense joy and love of God knowing that they are saved and will go to heaven. They are also very powerful intercessors for us, if we pray to them.

    • Athanasius,

      It’s just amazing that there is never any mention of these stumbling blocks when the Pope is talking about ecumenism. It’s all just smoothed over as if unimportant. There’s never any mention of actual doctrines that they don’t believe. It’s really tragic. If Purgatory was properly explained to the Protestants, they would see it as a wonderful mercy of God.