November – Month of the Holy Souls… 

This thread is launched to allow us to share our favourite prayers, novenas and hymns for the benefit of the Holy Souls, and to gain indulgences for our deceased family and friends who may be among the Church Suffering in Purgatory.  Click here for details about indulgences for 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)

The month of the Holy Souls is also a good time to reflect on our own death – it’s the one event in life of which we can be certain… 

November is an opportune time when we might reflect on the need to overcome our own temptations and sins, and/or help the young people in our care to be aware of the danger of falling into the habit of serious sin. 

In particular, we live in an age of sensuality, when we are encouraged to “live for the moment” and “do our own thing”, throwing off old prohibitions and inhibitions. Hence, we have become a highly sexualised society with even very young children being sexualised by misguided parents and/or an education system that has lost all sense of right and wrong. 

Even some clergy minimise the gravity of sexual sin, dismissing it as almost inevitable in weak, fallen human nature.  Yet, St Paul teaches the opposite: “Fly fornication” he insists: “every other sin is committed outside the body but those who commit fornication sin against their own body… and your body, remember, is the temple of the Holy  Ghost…” (1 Corinthians 6:18-19). 

It is worth, therefore, reflecting on the above reminder of St Teresa of Avila, great  saint and Doctor of the Church, that some day, perhaps soon, we will find ourselves at our moment of judgment.

27 responses

  1. My favourite hymn for the Holy Souls is “They are waiting for our petitions” so I will try to find that on YouTube and post it asap.

    November is the most important month in the year IMHO – anything I’ve ever read about the sufferings in Purgatory makes me want to avoid it – I’d appreciate any tips!

      • Nicky,

        That’s a great link – I’ve read it and I am noting the importance of the rosary in the next life, in deciding our judgment etc.

        It seems consoling but then I remember how much I struggle with the rosary – and I don’t think I’m alone. I say it every day but although I try to concentrate, I find my mind wandering. I also remember Our Lady speaking of saying the rosary “devoutly” (I think in the Fatima appearances) and I honestly don’t think I do that because my mind wanders so much.

        So, I’d be glad of any tips to help me concentrate better! That might help me to avoid Purgatory, LOL!

        • Yes that’s an old trick of the devil, the distraction thing, and then we fret about being distracted and that becomes a distraction in itself. I was always taught that as long as you are sincerely trying to pray, then if you find your mind has wandered onto other things, gently, and without fretting or force, bring your mind back to the rosary meditation, and continue to do this as often as any distraction occurs. Setting the scene to pray can often help – remove all obvious distractions, turn off the phone, light a candle in front of a statue of Our Lady as a focus, etc. There are loads of rosary meditation booklets that can help, but sadly most of the modern ones have the luminous mysteries in – this is a good traditional one written in 1951 by the renowned priest Fr Mateo Boevey-Crawley – https://gloria.tv/post/zpp7ESFWWi3M3Fa9qXkVdZVMF Details of where to purchase it are on the link

          • Westminster Fly,

            Thank you for your reply which is very encouraging. The book you recommend looks helpful so thank you very much for that. I’m already putting some of your suggestions into practice (e.g. lighting candle).

            Thanks again.

    • Lily,

      That’s my favourite hymn for the Holy Souls, too, but you won’t find it on YouTube. I’ve looked every year and still can’t find it.

      I agree about wanting to avoid Purgatory – it’s only a few months since I finished reading Fr Schouppe’s book Purgatory Explained by the Lives and Legends of the Saints. There are some extracts published on page 10 of the current newsletter (for November) as part of our Thinking Through Catholic Truth series.

      Reading those revelations, albeit that they are private revelations and thus non-binding, makes me as keen as your good self in wanting to avoid going there.

      Having said that, to arrive in Purgatory would be a relief!

  2. This is one of my favourite hymns – there’s no Catholic recording that I can find but the words and tune are the same as the one I know from my parish, so I think it is good to post. Happy Feast everyone.
    Also, thanks for the reminder to pray for the Holy Souls this month.

  3. I love that hymn and the hymn for the holy souls – “They are waiting for our petitions.”

    Happy Feast of All Saints to everyone at CT.

  4. I forgot to mention the link to the indulgences page in the intro.

    I think these are “do-able” :-

    From November 1 to 8: visit of a cemetery with mental prayer for the poor souls.

    On November 2: visit of a church or an oratory with one Our Father and one Creed being recited.

    You need to visit the link to read the pre-conditions but it would be good to try to win some indulgences for our family gone before us who may be in Purgatory.

  5. Interesting that our sagacious Editor quoted 2 Maccabees at the top of this thread. Maccabees, along with several other books, was rejected by Luther because he was losing a debate with Johann Eck on Purgatory – and Eck, like Editor, was quoting from Maccabees.

    How’s that for a typical revolutionary tactic: losing a debate? Just move the goal posts!

    Luther’s excuse was that St. Jerome had rejected Maccabees as Canonical, even though it had been included as Canonical by the councils of Carthage, Hippo, and Florence. Unfortunately for Luther (and St. Jerome), the Greek Septuagint translation was made from a more ancient Hebrew text than St. Jerome knew of, that is now lost.

    That said, there is something inexplicably and deeply comforting about going to the cemetery this week to pray for the Holy Souls. I very much look forward to it every year.

    • RCA Victor,

      Yes, it always amuses me to see the lengths to which our non-Catholic brothers and sisters (although usually brothers!) will to to rationalise their re-structuring if not re-writing of Scripture, and that not limited to the New Testament.

      Anyway, not so sure about your generous description of me as “sagacious” – you’d expect something along those lines at my age but this wee lad is already a shrewd customer…

  6. Our PP said there are 2 schools of thought\; 1. Augustinian i.e. fire and brimestone and 2. The Greek (whatever that is) which is more merciful. Can anybody explain?

    • Helen,

      Why didn’t you ask HIM what he meant?

      I assume he is some modernist cleric who thinks St Augustine is to blame for the dogma of Hell while everyone else knows that the “Greek School” (whatever that is, as you say) believes that God is too merciful to throw people in Hell.

      Don’t listen to him – your PP was obviously let out of school himself before he had been educated in the basics. Death, Judgment, Heaven & Hell. End of.

      • Thanks Editor. My husband did ask him about it and his wooly answer shows that he has a problem with Purgatory, although he did say it’s a doctrine. I think I’ll ask him myself.

        On a similar note, I listened today to a YouTube video between Taylor Marshall and another man. They were discussing demonic possession, Hell etc. It was very chilling. What’s THE definitive book on Fatima to read? as you’ll appreciate, I don’t have much time to read what with a growing young family and a young baby!

        • Helen,

          Well, if he has a problem with Purgatory now, he’s in for a bigger problem in due course…

          I don’t know what would be considered the “definitive” book on Fatima but the one I find most helpful is this one, which includes quotes from Sr Lucia’s memoirs and various other documents. It’s available to purchase on Amazon – inexpensive. Lucia is depicted on the front cover wearing the habit of the Dorothean Sisters, which is the Order she entered before moving to the Carmelites. It’s very readable; some might say a real page-turner. She has often featured in the newsletter – doesn’t the name ring a bell… Paige Turner? 😀

          By the way, you could always give those bairns up for adoption if you wanted more time to check out Fatima and Purgatory books. Just a thought 😀

  7. “It is worth, therefore, reflecting on the above reminder of St Teresa of Avila, great saint and Doctor of the Church, that some day, perhaps soon, we will find ourselves at our moment of judgment.”
    The truth of Editor’s words were brought home to me yesterday when I heard the news that a priest of my acquaintance who was not in ill health and no great age, collapsed and died just as he was about to offer Mass. You never know the time, nor the hour. May he rest in peace.

    • WF,

      From as early as I can remember thinking about the Faith, it is that thought which has been a major focus – we not know the day nor the hour… death will come like a thief in the night…

      Properly appreciated, it should prevent us/me from ever sinning again – if only. Instead I’ve turned into what amounts to being a profession sinner. My prayer is to be allowed another ten or even twenty years in order to prepare properly for that day and hour.

      Remembering your priest-friend in this month of November. May he rest in peace.

  8. N O T I C E . . .

    I have received the following email from the grandson of Hamish Fraser RIP, the famous Scots convert from Communism:

    I regret to advise that my grandmother Kathleen Fraser passed away this morning at the age of 98. Please pray for the repose of her soul. [Edward]

    My reply…

    Dear Edward,

    My sincere condolences on the death of your grandmother. May she rest in peace.

    I will report this on our blog and in our next newsletter, with grateful memories of the way she helped us to spread the newsletter in Scotland from the outset.

    Kathleen will be in my prayers – as will the entire family who must be very sad at this time. You will all be able to take consolation from the fact that she lived for almost a century! Deo gratias!

    God bless you. [Patricia]

    I know that all our bloggers and readers will spare a prayer for the repose of Kathleen’s soul. I always think that the next best thing to being taken to my judgment on a major Feast day, is to be taken in the Month of the Holy Souls. May she rest in peace…

  9. Editor

    Sad news indeed, I will say a prayer for the repose of her soul. Perhaps God, in His infinite goodness, has saw fit to spare her further trials in this very oppressed world, which is becoming more evil by the day at the highest levels.

  10. I’ve never heard of a “souling party” for the young. I’ve copied # 5 on the list of things you can do in the month of the Holy Souls, because parents with young families might find it very useful. I love it!

    #5
    HAVE A SOULING PARTY FOR THE YOUNG — AND THE YOUNG AT HEART
    All Hallows Eve and other autumnal feasting traditions have their roots in ancient Catholic celebrations of the feasts of all saints and all souls. Why not kick off November (and the Feast of All Souls) with a soul cake party? Dress up as your favorite saint, bring the name of a deceased loved one to ask others to pray for as you light a candle, eat, and share soul cakes. You can even sing songs for the occasion like “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say,” “Be Still My Soul,” “By All Your Saints Still Striving” and for kids, “This Little Light of Mine.” Hey, who wouldn’t want to attend a party where the spotlight food is donuts?
    https://aleteia.org/2020/11/01/8-ways-to-honor-the-holy-souls-this-november/

    It’s too late to “kick off” the month now but it would still be good to have the party!

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