Prayers and Practices for the Souls in Purgatory

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Grabbing Hold of a 'Bucket List'

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By Linda Kasakyan
Woodside, New York

As a result of being a member of the Holy Souls Sodality, I have come to have a greater devotion for the poor souls in Purgatory. I'm always looking for new ways to keep them in mind, and so about a year ago I was inspired with the following practice.

I started to make a list of all my deceased relatives, friends, and neighbors, and made note of their birthdays and days of death. To aid me with this task, I gathered all the memorial cards that I had collected over the years by attending funeral wakes. I recorded the day of death and birthday, if it was written. I then composed, with the help of an Excel spreadsheet (to make it easier, but it's not necessary), a list of all the names, sorting by month each one's day of death.

For example, I listed together all those who died in the month of January. I did this for each month. I then transposed the names into a small calendar. In the little space provided for each day, I wrote the name of the person who died and what year he or she died. This way I could recall the person who died on a particular day and remember how many days, weeks, months, or years since their passing. I also could remember how old they were, for my own information, if I had recorded a birthday.

Each day before attending Mass, I check the calendar book. It is small, so I can carry it in my purse. I then pray for the deceased person during the Mass and offer my Communion for the soul. I also remember the soul in my Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, and any good works, almsgiving, or little sacrifice I do during that day. I especially repeat many times during the day the "Eternal Rest Prayer" as well as other short indulgenced prayers.

If I do not know the particular day that a person died, I keep a page at the back of my calendar where I list those deceased. For those days that no one is marked as deceased, I remember one of the persons for whom I am missing the day of death. This way everyone can be remembered and prayed for during the year. Each time a friend or relative or religious I know dies, I add them to my list. I now have almost 200 names.

It is so gratifying to be able to remember them this way.

I got this idea from a friend who made up a "bucket list." She listed every person she had ever had any kind of encounter with during her life who had passed away. She is in the process of having a Mass said for each one of them. Our church bulletin mentions each week the person for whom the Mass is being said and who is requesting it. My friend is having Mass offered for the persons on her "bucket list" two or three days a week. She has been doing this for about two years now. She has many friends here on earth, and she will have even more in Heaven as all those on her bucket list are, by the grace of God, released from Purgatory.

Share with us your devotion to the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Write to or send it in to Holy Souls Sodality, Marian Helpers Center, Stockbridge, MA 01263

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Sheila - Nov 6, 2018


Sonia - Nov 6, 2018

Wow, this is a great idea! I try to remember and pray for those I've known, too, but I am aware that I sometimes forget some people. This awareness had come upon me more keenly this past week and now today I read this! Even today I went to Mass at a different parish and after I listed all the names I could think of in the book by the altar, on the way home I remembered another person. Thank you so much for sharing this. I am going to print this out and begin to try to do this. God bless you, Linda.